How do I adopt my spouse’s minor child?
A stepparent adoption is initiated when an adult files a petition in the county which he/she resides to adopt the child of his/her spouse or domestic partner.
What is a Stepparent Investigation?
A stepparent investigation is a written report that must be submitted to the Court. It consists of declarations by the birth parent and the spouse or partner who is petitioning to adopt. The declarations explain the circumstances of the child’s conception in detail which allows the identification of any person(s) who claim to have parentage the child to be notified and consent to the adoption.
The court may assign one of the following to complete the investigation: a probation officer, a qualified court investigator, or the county welfare department. The petitioner may also opt to have the investigation completed by a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed marriage and family therapist, or a private licensed adoption agency.
Do I need a home study to adopt my spouse’s child?
Unless requested by the court, a Home Study is not required for a stepparent adoption. In stepparent adoptions, a Home Study refers to a physical investigation of the premises where the child is residing.
What happens at the court hearing?
If upon review of the written investigation report, the court finds that the birth parent of the child and the adopting parent were married or in a domestic partnership at the time of the child’s birth, and that all persons who must consent to the adoption have consented or have been noticed based on the written investigation report, the court shall grant the adoption.
How much will it cost to adopt my stepchild?
When the adoption request is filed, the petitioner notices the court if he/she will be securing the services of a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed marriage and family therapist, or a private licensed adoption agency to complete the investigation. Any applicable fees for the investigation would be set by and paid directly to the investigator.
Absent such notification, the court may assign one of the following to complete the investigation: a probation officer, a qualified court investigator, or the county welfare department. The adoptive parent is liable for all reasonable costs incurred in connection with the stepparent adoption, including, but not limited to, costs incurred for the investigation, up to a maximum of seven hundred dollars ($700).
The court, probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county welfare department may defer, waive, or reduce the fee if its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive parent detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child.