Westlake Village Stepparent Adoption Lawyer

Understanding the Benefits of Stepparent Adoption in California

Although there are four different types of adoption in California—including stepparent, independent, agency and international—stepparent adoption is by far the most common. Since marriage alone does not give a non-biological parent the legal ability to make decisions on behalf of their stepchild, an official adoption would be the only way to solidify that parent's rights. In order to do so, the individual must be married to, or in a domestic partnership with, the child's biological parent.

Once the adoption has been approved, the stepparent's relationship with the child would be no different, under California law, than that of a biological parent and their child. For this reason, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with a Westlake Village family law attorney at Richard Ross Associates if you or someone you love is interested in stepparent adoption.

Examining the Provisions of Family Code §8600-8622

Despite the fact that stepparent adoption is one of the easiest forms of adoption in California, there are several important factors that must be taken into consideration before initiating the process. Under the law, there are a number of requirements that must be upheld in order for the adoption process to be completed successfully—which may include gaining consent from the child and both biological parents. For this reason, we encourage you to review some of the provisions of stepparent adoption listed below:

  • Family Code §8601 – Unless the court sees fit to make an exception, the stepparent must be at least 18 years old, and at least 10 years older than the child.
  • Family Code §8602 – If the child is over the age of 12 years old, they must consent to the possibility of stepparent adoption.
  • Family Code §8604 – Unless the other biological parent has terminated their rights, the prospective adoptive stepparent must gain consent.
  • Family Code §9000 – The prospective adoptive stepparent must be legally married to, or in a domestic partnership with, the child's biological parent.

Depending on the nature of your case, it may be possible for the court to waive some of the aforementioned requirements—should you not be able to meet them. This is an extremely delicate process, however, so it is highly recommended that you do not attempt to navigate it alone. By enlisting the help of an experienced legal professional from Richard Ross Associates, you can rest easier knowing that your best interests will be upheld throughout the entire adoption process.

Gaining Consent / Terminating Parental Rights

In order for a stepparent to legally adopt their stepchild, they must first acquire the consent of the other biological parent. Since most are unwilling to forfeit their parental rights, this can be a rather contentious process. For this reason, it may be necessary for the couple to prove that the biological parent is unfit to fulfill their responsibilities as a guardian. In doing so, this would effectively terminate that parent's rights—thus making it unnecessary to gain consent for the stepparent adoption. Although this might not be an ideal situation, it may be the only way to uphold the best interests of the child. This can be done by proving to the court that the biological parent had abandoned the child, that they are unfit to fulfill their responsibilities and/or that they have failed to support the child.

Need an attorney for stepparent adoption in Thousand Oaks?

If you or someone you love is interested in stepparent adoption, it is crucial that you discuss your case with a Westlake Village family law attorney from Richard Ross Associates. This process not only requires extensive paperwork, but careful collaboration, so our firm would like to ensure that you do not run into any foreseeable obstacles. By taking the time to sit down with an experienced lawyer, you will have the ability to move through the complex legal process of stepparent adoption with confidence. For this reason, we encourage you to take the first step today by picking up the phone and contacting our firm at (805) 410-3407. If you would prefer to contact us online, you are also welcome to submit a case evaluation form directly from our website. From there, we can work together toward the successful conclusion that you are looking for.