Reportedly, about 50 percent of all adoptions nationwide, including in California, involve stepchildren. Stepparent adoption can serve different purposes. It could follow the death of the biological parent, or a person marrying someone who has children from a previous relationship or marriage. In many cases, the children have endured traumatic times, and the adoption may bring stability and permanence into his or her life.
Consent for the adoption is an important requirement. The burden to prove to the court that the biological parent, whose place the stepparent wants to take, gave consent to the adoption is on the shoulders of the applying parent. Sometimes this process is uncomplicated because parental rights were terminated regarding the other parent already. However, that will have to be proved to the court. An example is a parent who has abandoned the child by making no effort to contact the child or provide any support for a year or longer.
The court will make the final decision about the adoption, but to get there, the stepparent will have to make sure that all the necessary forms are filled out and filed with the court. The next step will be a hearing in the family court at which time the judge will determine whether the prospective parent meets the necessary criteria to qualify for the adoption. The adoption will be finalized during a subsequent, second hearing when the judge will issue the adoption certificate.
Every stepparent adoption case in California is unique, and such plans are best discussed with an experienced family law attorney. Having a lawyer to provide support and guidance from the start may simplify the entire process. Among other things, he or she can help with gathering the necessary proof of consent or abandonment, if applicable, and the preparation of the necessary documents for the court.
Source: superpages.com, "The Stepchild Adoption Process", Accessed on April 12, 2018