Los Angeles Stepparent Adoption Lawyer
Contact Our Family Law Firm in Los Angeles
Are you a stepparent in California? If you want to learn more about stepparent
adoption rights and the stepparent
adoption process, you need to work with a local Los Angeles family law attorney.
The procedure can vary from county to county, and this is a process where
you can't afford any missteps.
Castellanos & Associates, APLC, you can work with a Los Angeles adoption attorney who has practiced
family law for
more than four decades combined. We can deliver the affordable, trusted counsel that you deserve. Don't
hesitate to schedule your
free, no-obligation consultation today!
Am I Eligible for Stepparent Adoption?
To qualify for a stepparent adoption in Los Angeles, you must be legally
married to or a registered domestic partner of the custodial parent of
the child to be adopted.
Additional requirements for a stepparent adoption include:
- The spouse / partner of the adopting parent is the custodial parent of
the child to be adopted and has the legal right to exclusive or joint
custody of the child.
- The adopting parent should be an adult, and should be at least 10 years
older than the child to be adopted; there are some exceptions under the law.
- The adopting parent must have consent of the spouse / domestic partner;
the non-custodial parent, unless deceased or court rules consent is not
- The adoption parent must have the consent of the child to be adopted if
he / she is 12 years of age or older.
- The adoption must be approved by the Department of Children and Family
Services (DCFS) or your designated county agency.
Beyond these basic requirements, you need to work with a lawyer to understand
the possible implications and requirements of other laws, such as the
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), immigration law, and the Hague Convention
on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption.
The DCFS Social Worker
If you live in Los Angeles County, the Department of Children and Family
Services will investigate your petition, an investigation that includes
interviews, seeking consent from both birth / legal parents, fingerprinting,
and a background check. You are not required to be a "perfect"
parent, and "youthful indiscretions" will not exclude you from
becoming an adoptive parent. However, we believe that it is important
to be truthful with your social worker, and disclose all relevant information
about a criminal history. How does this investigation start?
After submitting your adoption petition, you will need to forward the DCFS:
- A copy of the petition, one marked copy from the court
- All the documents gathered for the petition
- The agency fee
In Los Angeles, the fee could be $700. Whatever the amount, be certain
to include the fee with these documents in order to avoid delays. In fact,
if there are too many delays, the court might dismiss your case. Send
the documents through certified mail, with return receipt requested, to
Department of Children and Family Services
Stepparent Adoptions Unit, 8th Floor
3075 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Termination of Parental Rights
While it is true that stepparent adoption can be a simpler process than
other types of adoption, there are many potential complications. If an
absent parent needs to be located in order to give consent, or if the
biological parent does not want to give consent to the adoption, this
can seriously lengthen the process. In some cases though, California law
could permit a court to terminate parental rights through a court order.
A Los Angeles family law attorney from our firm can help you navigate
each stage, from the petition and tracking down a parent's contact
information to the adoption finalization hearing.
Call Our Los Angeles Adoption Lawyers
At Castellanos & Associates, APLC our Los Angeles
family law attorneys offer a wide range of adoption and family law services at various payment
plans. In some cases, we charge on an hourly basis, sending a monthly
bill along with a description of the charges. Whatever the payment plan
is, there will be no surprises, as we will disclose everything clearly.
If you need guidance or representation for the stepparent adoption process
in Los Angeles, don't hesitate to
contact our dedicated firm