Step Parent Adoption Attorney in San Diego, CA
Stepparent Adoption in California
In a time of high divorce and remarriage rates, many American families include stepparent/stepchild relationships.Not every stepparent ends up adopting their spouse’s child from another marriage, but enough of them do that stepparent adoptions are the most common adoption type in the country. Contact an experienced San Diego step parent adoption attorney if this is something you have or are considering. It makes sense in many ways, because one of the child’s birth parents is involved and the stepparent is already living in the role of parent, and would not likely be considering adoption unless that relationship was working.That’s why California has less strict requirements for approving stepparent adoptions. A California stepparent adoption is the most common form of adoption and requires that the couple must be legally married or registered as domestic partners.
Important Considerations before Deciding on a Stepparent Adoption
Stepparent adoption ends the child’s relationship with the non-custodial biological parent, which can be an emotional event for the child, and raises new legal obligations and rights between the stepparent and the child. Any adoption can be a tricky step, not to be taken lightly and not to be taken without thinking through the consequences. An experienced adoption attorney in San Diego, CA can help identify practical concerns as well as lead you through the legal steps.
How the Family Relationships Change
The stepparent’s adoption essentially substitutes the stepparent for the noncustodial biological parent.The stepparent assumes all the responsibilities of a biological parent, and ascends to all the rights of a biological parent.If the stepparent ends up divorcing the custodial biological parent, the stepparent is both responsible for child support and entitled to parental custody and visitation rights.
Consent of the Noncustodial Biological Parent
For a stepparent adoption to proceed, the noncustodial parent must consent to the adoption or be shown to be an unfit parent in some sense.In either case, the noncustodial parent essentially loses parental rights. That may well be a problem if the noncustodial parent cares for the child despite not having much actual contact, or if the noncustodial parent has a hostile relationship with the custodial parent. The most typical reason for allowing the stepparent’s adoption despite lack of consent is that the noncustodial parent actually or effectively abandoned the child under the law of the state. Establishing abandonment can be time-consuming and tricky. Is the noncustodial parent unable to contribute much support because of circumstances not within their control? Did the custodial biological parent make continued contact with the child difficult or impossible?
Psychological and Emotional Factors
Even if there are no legal impediments to a stepparent adoption, there are several emotional and psychological factors to consider.The adoption has the potential to alter the dynamics of several people within and outside of the immediate household. Stepparent adoptions obviously have the potential for serious emotional and psychological impacts on the child being adopted, especially if the noncustodial biological parent is still alive and the child has feelings for him or her.They can also affect other children.For example, how do the biological children of the stepparent feel about the idea? The stepparent should also take a hard, objective look at the reasons behind the adoption.For example, is it a device to make life simpler in terms of legal issues, like support, or is it an attempt to demonstrate commitment to the child and the custodial parent?The stepparent’s own emotions may end up being adversely affected. Then there are grandparents to consider, ex-spouses, and family members of all kinds.
Help in Deciding Whether or Not to Adopt
Stepparent adoption should be carefully thought out before you begin the process, focusing on all the potential ramifications.Each family’s concerns and motivations are unique.The family attorneys at Boyd Law in San Diego understand the emotional and legal issues involved. We can help you sort out the many factors at play and offer advice based on actual experience with these cases.If you decide that the adoption is the right thing for your family, we’ll work with you on meeting the requirements for consent of the noncustodial parent. We speak plainly and honestly to our clients, because that’s the only way we can serve their interests.Want to talk about a potential adoption? Contact us to speak to an experienced adoption attorney at Boyd Law today.