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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.

At Castellanos & Associates, APLC, you can work with a Los Angeles adoption attorney who has practiced family law for more than five 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 necessary.
  • 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 following items to 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 this address:

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 today!


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