One of the most rewarding things a person can do it be a light of support in a child’s life. In many cases, stepparents are the light for a child. However, stepparents do not have parental rights to the child unless they go through the stepparent adoption process. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, our certified family law specialists understand this adoption process and we will help you prepare. Let our Thousand Oaks stepparent adoption attorneys get to work on your case today.
Stepparent adoption can be a life-changer
Many people do not realize that stepparent adoption is covered under separate laws than traditional adoptions in California (Family Code Section 9000). Anyone who wants to adopt their stepchild (or that person’s spouse) can file a petition with the family law court to establish themselves as that child’s guardian. When a stepparent successfully completes the adoption process, then that child becomes legally theirs. They will be responsible for the well-being of the child until they turn 18.
However, this process can become complicated. In this state, a child can have only two legal parents, which means that the other biological parent in this situation will have to relinquish their parental rights. If the other parent voluntarily relinquishes their right to the child, the adoption process can be relatively straightforward.
If the child’s other biological parent wants to remain their child’s legal parent, stepparent adoption can become difficult. Working with your attorney, it may necessary to work to terminate the other parent’s rights by showing that they:
- Have abandoned the child (no frequent contact or financial support).
- Are unfit to be a parent due to mental illness, addictions to alcohol or drugs, or a history of neglect and abuse.
- Are not actually the parent (previously assumed paternity is not correct).
Please be aware that it is an uphill battle to terminate a parent’s rights, but not impossible. A judge will use various factors to evaluate what is in the child’s best interests. Based on California law, the judge will analyze:
- The age, health, safety, and welfare of the child
- Any history of domestic violence by you or either of the biological parents of the stepchild
- The duration and adequacy of the stepchild’s living arrangements
- The biological parents’ ability to care for the child
- The amount of time that the stepchild has spent with the stepparent, as well as both biological parents
- The emotional relationship between the stepparent and the stepchild, as well as both biological parents and their child
We want to help you adopt
Being a stepparent in a child’s life can be incredibly rewarding. If you are ready to take the next step and adopt a child in your life, we applaud you. However, the stepparent adoption process can become complicated. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we have a thorough understanding of the adoption laws in this state and will work to ensure you are prepared and treated fairly. When you need a Thousand Oaks stepparent adoption attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling 818-237-4574.