There are many different types of adoption. More commonly known types are through an agency or private adoption; however, it is possible for adoptions also to take place within pre-existing families. One of these types is known as step-parent adoption. In step-parent adoptions, an individual can assume full parental rights as a step-parent. This blog will provide an in-depth explanation of this process, as well as what individuals should know when proceeding with this type of adoption.
Defining Step-Parent Adoptions
While the definition of a step-parent adoption may seem obvious, it is essential to understand this process clearly. Step-parent adoption is the process in which an individual files a petition to adopt the child or children of their spouse or domestic partner.
How Do Step-Parent Adoptions Take Place?
When an individual is interested in adopting their partner’s children, there are several steps that they will need to take.
Submitting a Report to the Court
The first step that will need to take place is filing a step-parent investigation with the court. Within this documentation, there are a couple of different components that are necessary to file for adoption. You will need a declaration from the birth parent(s) and the individual that is petitioning for adoption. These declarations are vital, as they will notify the biological parents, who must consent to the adoption. Without consent, this adoption cannot take place.
Will There be a Home Study?
Home studies are a critical component of most adoptions. Home studies refer to the process in which a social worker or another adoption professional enters an intended adopter’s home to assess if they can provide a safe and stable home environment for any adopted children. While most adoptions require this process, this is not necessarily the case for step-parent adoptions. In these situations, it is likely that the children are already in the home and know the individual petitioning for the adoption. However, the courts may choose to request a home study if they feel it is necessary.
What Takes Place in Court?
The court will first review the investigation report filed. The court will grant the adoption if the necessary individuals have provided consent to the adoption and it is in the child's best interests, the court will grant the adoption.
What Are the Costs of Step-Parent Adoption?
It is no secret that adoptions are costly. Depending on how the court chooses to conduct the investigation, costs may vary slightly. The costs incurred from investigations could potentially be up to $700. Any fees will be paid directly to the investigator.
When Should You Adopt Your Step-Child?
There are several different benefits to adopting your step-child. Perhaps most importantly, it grants individuals with critical legal rights as a parent.
- Financial Benefits: If you assume legal custody of your step-child, they will be able to benefit from your inheritance or any insurance that you have in place.
- Stability For The Family: Formally adopting them can provide additional stability if you have become an essential role in your step-child’s life.
- Parental Recognition: Many different tasks require the authorization of a parent or formal guardian. For this reason, it can be beneficial for step-parents to adopt their step-children, especially if they are already providing routine care.
Finding The Legal Guidance You Need
While filing for a step-parent adoption may seem simple enough, there are requirements that must be met for the adoption to succeed. Due to this, it can be especially beneficial to retain an experienced adoption attorney. They can help guide you through the process, ensuring that you don’t miss any important steps. If you are interested in a step-parent adoption in Folsom, the team at Law Office of Tiffany L. Andrews, P.C. is here for you. Contact us at (916) 794-4576 to set up a consultation today.