Understanding Step-Parent Adoption In California

Understanding Step-Parent Adoption In California

Adoption is an exciting time in any family. It’s a huge step that helps finalize a family and an especially exciting event if you’re a step-parent finally adopting your stepchild. If you’re looking into a step-parent adoption in California, you’ll need to understand the process first.

What Is A Step-Parent Adoption?

A step-parent is either the spouse or domestic partner of one of a child’s biological parents. In a step-parent adoption, a child’s step-parent adopts them, making them a legal parent of that child. After a step-parent adoption takes place, the other biological parent (without custody rights) no longer has any rights or responsibilities for the child. 

To adopt their step-child, a step-parent must first file a petition to adopt the child in their county of residence. After this, the step-parent needs to file a formal Adoption Request and gain consent from the child’s biological parent. If the child is old enough, they may also be asked to provide consent for the adoption.  

How Long Does A Step-Parent Adoption Take In California?

Depending on the county you live in, the average time for step-parent adoption in California varies. After filing your Adoption Request, you can expect to wait anywhere from 2 to 18 months for the adoption to be complete. Step-parent adoption can go faster if you use a private adoption agency instead of the county investigator. Finding a good child custody lawyer can also speed up the process.

Do Step-Parents Have Any Legal Rights In California?

Step-parents do not have any legal rights as parents to a child if they have not legally adopted the child. If a step-parent forms a close bond with their step-child and ends up getting a divorce, they may petition the court for visitation rights. However, step-parents do not have any inherent rights as parents in California. 

Can A Husband Adopt A Child Without The Biological Father’s Consent In California?

Before moving forward, you should always try to get written consent from your stepchild’s non-custodial, biological parent. A husband usually needs the birth father’s consent to adopt their step-child in the state of California. If the biological father refuses to consent to the adoption, the only other way it can happen is if the state moves to terminate the biological father’s legal parental rights

Can A Biological Parent Regain Custody After Adoption?

It is extremely difficult for a biological parent to regain custody after losing parental rights in a step-parent adoption. Most states do not have a process for reinstituting parental rights or reversing an adoption, either. The only way for a biological parent to regain custody after the adoption is to prove that consent to the adoption was provided under fraud, duress, or coercion. 

Discuss Your Adoption Case With Our Legal Professionals

At the Law Offices of Bloom and Rudibaugh, we have a dedicated team of family law professionals ready to help you with your step-parent adoption in California. We are here to support you through the process of adopting your step-children. Call our Hemet Law Office today at 951-652-1400 or our Murrieta/Temecula office at 951-296-5360 to schedule a consultation with our family law lawyers and discuss your adoption today.