Westlake Village Stepparent Adoption Attorney

A stepparent is adopted by the spouse of a child’s legal parent. By law, a child can only have two legal parents. This is a fact despite the increase in family situations where more than two adults assume the role of parents. Situations like this are evident when a child spends more time with one or two stepparents and the two legal parents. When there are same-sex couples and opposite-sex friends from families, the same principles apply.

Whenever two or more adults share parental responsibilities equally, a child may have two mothers and one father, two fathers and one mother, two fathers and two mothers, and, in rare instances, more parents. Regardless, only two adults can be legal parents.

Many stepparent adoption cases concern same-sex couples. This involves a hefty number of dealing with what are known as second-parent adoptions. Second-parent adoptions allow you to adopt a child without the other parent losing their parental rights.

There are many ways to be a parent to a child, even if a child is not yours biologically. Stepparents can provide loving homes and guidance for a child. They provide love and continual support. However, they do not necessarily have the same rights as a biological parent. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we want to help you adopt your stepchild. Our Westlake Village stepparent adoption attorneys understand how this works, and we are ready to help you.

How does a Westlake Village stepparent adoption work

It is commendable when a stepparent enters a child’s life and actively works to help. However, if you want to make being a parent official in the eyes of the state, you will need to go through the stepparent adoption process. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we are ready to help.

If no second parent has current parental rights, a stepparent can file for adoption if the filing is completed within three months of the child’s birth. The adoption may take place immediately or later and be a streamlined process.
The first step is to get the other parent’s consent in the case or to work through the court to terminate the parent’s rights. In California, a child can only have two legal parents, so the other parent’s rights must first be terminated.

In some cases, the other parent may willingly give up their parental rights to the child. However, there may be cases when the other parent refuses to do so. Generally, they have the right to refuse to give up their parental rights, though there are certain circumstances in which you could work through the court to terminate them. This could include if:

  • The other parent abandoned their child, meaning they have not provided any financial support or been in contact with their child).
  • The parent is unfit due to addiction, neglect, abuse, or mental illness.
  • A previous paternity assumption must be corrected (may require a paternity test).

Stepparent adoption is more accessible than traditional adoption, but difficulties can still arise. That is why your Westlake Village stepparent adoption attorney will work to ensure all paperwork is filled out completely and correctly. They will also help you prepare for any home visits and investigations in the case. The California Department of Social Services will handle all investigations and home visits. Your attorney will represent you at the adoption hearing.

A home study is a critical aspect of the adoption process to ensure that the child will be moving into a safe and loving environment. An approved report must include the results of State and Federal criminal history records of the adoptive parents and each adult residing in the adoptive home. Background checks for a history of child abuse, neglect, or domestic violence are to be included in the report, too.
The adoption must be filed with the court, and additional pleadings to be filed can include a Consent or Affidavit of Birth Mother, Consent or Affidavit of Birth Father, Affidavit of Circumstances Surrounding Placement of Child, and Affidavit of Costs and Expenses Incurred for the Adoption. Field pleadings are not limited to these and can involve an expansive list.
Once you gain parental rights, you will be responsible for that child’s care, even in the event you separate from or divorce the child’s biological parent.

Ronald Stitch attorneys are at your service every step of the way. We can help you in a variety of ways, including:

  • Representation at court hearings
  • Communicating with adoption agencies on your behalf
  • Arranging proper immigration for international adoption
  • Negotiating fair terms with biological parents while preparing and reviewing adoption agreements during a private adoption

We are ready to help you through this

There may be difficult circumstances surrounding a stepparent, so leave the legalities to the attorneys of the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch. Adopting a stepchild may be one of, if not the most important, processes you are a part of, and having an attorney on your side is invaluable. We will provide an experienced attorney to handle and guide you through the legal process.

Stepparent adoption involves obtaining consent from the biological parent, and we negotiate with that parent on your behalf. We also assist you in situations where that parent cannot be located.

If you are a stepparent, our thanks go out to you. At the Law Offices of Ronald K. Stitch, we know that stepparents play a valuable role in a child’s life. Unfortunately, the process of establishing parental rights can be complicated. Our Westlake Village stepparent adoption attorneys fully understand the process and are ready to help ensure you are treated fairly. Our goal is to help establish happy families that protect children. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling 818-707-0202.

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