Step-parent adoption is the process by which a step-mother or step-father adopts their spouse’s child or children. A domestic partner desiring to adopt a child of his or her domestic partner may also file for adoption under this procedure. The adoptive relationship is brought about only after a determination that the child’s other natural parents’ parental rights have been terminated by court order. After this determination, the parties may then proceed with the adoption. Adoption then creates a parent–child relationship between the adopted child and the adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of a natural parent.
Accordingly, a step-parent adoption occurs in two stages. The first stage involves terminating the natural parent’s rights by filing the necessary forms, starting an investigation, and then setting a hearing date to terminate the parental rights. The other birth parent may consent to terminate his or her parental rights as part of the process.
After the parental rights have been terminated, the adoption process can begin. The parties must then file a step-parent adoption request, agreement, order, and other necessary forms.
For more information on step-parent adoption, please click here or call our office at (619) 284-4113 to speak with one of our Certified Family Law Specialists who can assist you with this difficult process.