Considerations in Step-Parent Adoption

People have many reasons for requesting to formally adopt their step-children. It can be the best way to clear up legal complications regarding parental rights or child support. It can also be a way for blended families to bond or feel more “complete.” Adopting a step-child is a very personal choice that each family must make for themselves; no one else can tell you if it is the right thing to do.

If you are considering a step-parent adoption, either as a biological parent or step-parent, there are many legal challenges you may face. For helpful legal advice and efficient assistance with every step of the process, call the San Diego step-parent adoption lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 760-722-7646.

Questions to Ask

Before your family reaches a final decision about step-parent adoption, there are some complex issues that need to be carefully considered. A few basic topics to be discussed include:

  • How do the children feel about this? In California, children aged 12 or older must give their consent to being adopted by their step-parents. Even if your child is under 12, it is important to consider his or her thoughts on the new arrangement. Forcing a step-parent adoptions on children can make them feel like their biological parents are being forgotten or replaced.
  • Do you have the absent biological parent's consent? California requires the consent of both biological parents before a step-parent adoption can proceed. The only exception is in the event of children who have been abandoned – i.e., the absent parent has not contacted them or paid child support in a year.
  • Can you find the absent biological parent? Even if you do not know where the other biological parent is living, or even who he or she is, you will need to locate him or her and obtain his or her consent. If you cannot find him or her, you will need to show the court documentation of every attempt you made, so it is important to make a real effort.
  • How will this affect everyone in the family? The adopting step-parent will be taking on many legal responsibilities that he or she did not have before. The adopted child may have mixed feelings or fears about the future. The biological parent may also have concerns about making this kind of commitment or receiving child support from the absent parent.

A qualified San Diego step-parent adoption attorney can provide legal details to help you make this complicated choice.

Contact Us

The San Diego adoption lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP have been helping families through times of transition for years. conact us at 760-722-7646 with any questions or concerns you may have.

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