The Law Offices of Soheila Azizi & Associates, P.C.

Stepparent Adoption Attorney

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 16811382As a stepparent or domestic partner, you form a special relationship with your partner’s child. Stepfathers and stepmothers all over the country have a crucially important role in their stepchildren’s lives, including getting the children to and from school, taking them to sports practice, helping them with their homework, cooking meals, and providing financial support. Many children depend on the love and support of stepparents, who are there for the child in a way that the other biological parent can not be or will not be.

When one makes the commitment to remarry after a divorce or enter into a domestic partnership, it represents a major change in the family dynamic. The new stepfather or stepmother moves in with the children and begins to (or continues to) make decisions about the child’s activities, discipline, and overall upbringing. But as a stepparent, despite having active involvement in the child’s life, you do not have the full legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. A stepparent adoption allows you to create a legal parent-child relationship between you and your stepchild.

If you are interested in pursuing a stepparent adoption, an experienced family law attorney can guide you through the process. While stepparent adoptions are typically easier than agency or independent adoptions, the process is by no means simple. The Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. can help navigate the tricky waters of obtaining consent from the other parent, ensure the right documents are filed at the right time, and increase your chances of a successful adoption.

The Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. is proud to be your law firm for life. Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to schedule your consultation today.

Obtaining Consent From the Other Parent

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 33664624The California Family Code states that a stepparent cannot adopt his or her steppchild without the consent of the other biological parent.

Obtaining consent can be a difficult undertaking, depending on your family situation. Consenting to a stepparent adoption means giving up any and all parental rights, including the right to make major decisions about the child’s life (e.g. schooling and medical care) and the right to visit the child. Consenting to a stepparent adoption also means termination of child support, if there was any. In the best-case scenario, the non-custodial biological parent will realize that a stepparent adoption is in the child’s best interest and give consent. However, it is not always that easy.

If the non-custodial parent refuses to give consent, there are other legal options to pursue. Depending on how much contact and support the child gets from the non-custodial parent, you can seek to terminate his or her parental rights. The options for termination of parental rights are:

  • Willful failure to support: If the non-custodial parent has failed to support the child AND failed to communicate with the child for at least one year, you could argue that he or she willfully failed to support the child. If the absent parent is unable to show a good reason for the lack of support and communication, the court can waive the requirement of consent and allow the adoption to proceed.
  • Abandonment: If the non-custodial parent has failed to either support the child OR communicate with the child for at least one year, you could argue that the absent parent has effectively abandoned the child. However, these circumstances are less open-and-shut than willful failure to support. In order to prove abandonment, the state probation department must investigate the child’s relationship with his or her biological parents. The probation worker will often meet with the custodial, biological parent and the child to learn how much support the other parent has given, what the parent’s relationship is like with the child, and determine whether or not the non-custodial parent’s actions constitute abandonment. The court will take the probation worker’s report and the parents’ testimony into account to decide whether or not parental rights should be terminated.
  • Alleged father: If the absent parent is male, in some circumstances, you can argue he is not the “presumed father” in the eyes of the law. A man is the presumed father if he is married to the child’s mother at the time of birth, as well as if he marries her after the birth and is named on the birth certificate. However, if the parents were never married, there is no legal presumed father. In these cases, it is much easier to terminate parental rights.
  • Unfit parent: If you can prove that the other biological parent is not fit to raise a child, his or her parental rights could be terminated. A parent can be determined unfit if they are neglectful, abusive, mentally ill, incarcerated, or suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. If one party is unfit for parenting, sole custody will be awarded to the fit parent. In these cases, consent of the absent parent is not required and the adoption can proceed.

It is important to note that each and every family situation is different. The court takes a number of factors into account when considering termination of parental rights, but the child’s well-being is always the number one priority.

The Stepparent Adoption Process

ISTOCK IMAGE ID 14920058Stepparent adoptions are generally easier to navigate than traditional agency adoptions or independent adoptions because one biological parent is still involved. Home visits, which are required for other adoptions, are not required by the California Family Code for stepparent adoptions; instead, the court assumes the child has a safe and stable living arrangement because the biological parent is still present.

When starting the adoption process, an experienced family law attorney can be invaluable. A qualified lawyer can obtain the forms you need to file, help you file them in the correct place, contact the other biological parent, and work to obtain consent for the adoption. After the forms have been filed and consent issues have been dealt with, there will be a final adoption hearing at which the court will decide whether or not to approve the adoption. A lawyer with extensive family law experience will know how to navigate the process, present the appropriate evidence, and give you the best chance of a successful hearing.

Once the adoption is approved and finalized, parental rights and responsibilities are permanently transferred to the stepparent. Under California law, the adoption cannot be nullified or revoked except in the case of fraud, mental illness, legal defect, or disability (discovered within five years of the adoption).

Contact the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates

If you are a stepparent or domestic partner interested in adopting your significant other’s child, contact The Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. No matter your family situation, our skilled family law attorneys can help you determine the best course of action throughout the adoption process. With more than 18 years’ worth of experience in litigation and dispute resolution, Soheila Azizi has the expertise to handle your adoption matter. As an expert in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, Ms. Azizi can be a valuable asset for negotiating and obtaining consent from the other biological parent.

Call (909) 484-9992 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to discuss your adoption case today. We are proud to be your law firm for life.

When you want sound, authoritative legal advice and effective and zealous representation to help protect your interests, the Law Office of Soheila Azizi & Associates, P.C. is ready to help.
10213 Foothill Blvd.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

(909) 484-9992

Mon - Thu 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 8:30am - 4:00pm

We are available 24/7 to assist you virtually.

Customer Reviews

The Law Office Of Soheila Azizi & Associates, P.C.

Customer Reviews

Adrianne Fernandez 3/11/2021

Beyond impressed! I had been self represented through years of family law and child support court hearings and was so hesitant to hire an attorney out of fear and trusting that they would appropriately represent myself and child. After tons of research I contacted Ms. Azizi. I immediately was greeted by Lorenzo, the Office Administrator, who made me feel so welcomed and comfortable. He assisted in making communication seamless and effortless and walked me through each step of the process. Ms. Azizi heard my concerns and was extremely sensitive to the matter of FAMILY. The team did an amazing job with discovery and building a strong case that gave me confidence and I was successful in coming to an agreement with the other party, in what has yet to have been the easiest hearing of all, thanks to them. Ms. Azizi settled my case after years of stress and agony. I am grateful for finding the team and Ms. Azizi and definitely recommend them for any of your legal needs!

Linda P 6/19/2020

This law firm is the best! They have helped me so much with my Divorce and Criminal cases and I really wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have them to represent me. Lorenzo and Ro are awesome and are there to help at all times. My attorney was Mr.Edmondson and he has been amazing. This law firm is truly great and I will never go to any other one. Their responses are quick and will answer any questions you might have.

Diana H. 05/01/2021

Seven stars. I had planned to put up my reviews after my final judgment but after the first hearing, couldn't wait, and I would write this whatever the outcome of my difficult case. Soheila was simply amazing in her arguments and strategy before the judge. I felt so taken care of. I chose her for her near-30 years of experience as an attorney, the depth and strength I observed in one who had weathered hardship through her many accomplishments, her compassion, and her smarts. I can't imagine what other attorney would have Zoomed with me even in sickness to help prepare me for a legal session. And I later saw how keen she'd been in her advice. I've been deeply touched watching Soheila and her paralegal Lynda Walker fight for my child as if he were their own. They in particular have treated me with great humanity - day and night from what I experienced at my former attorney's. Lynda is a gem, on her toes, flexible, hard-working, committed to each client, humble, and sweet. She has slaved over my case, doing much of the writing, watchful of me on paper and in person, guiding me gently while encouraging me to use my voice. The staff, including the office administrator Lorenzo and Linda C, is caring, respectful, and conscientious. A band of angels.