Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your California family, and it may seem like a natural step after successfully blending your family through marriage. While you may want to adopt your stepchildren or you may want your spouse to adopt your biological children, there are a few factors that could make this a complicated process. If you believe it is a beneficial step for your specific situation, you may benefit from an understanding of how this works and what you can expect from the process.
There is much more involved with stepparent adoption than simply having the desire to take that step. In addition to your wishes or your spouse’s wishes, you must also consider the wishes of the other biological parent. Biological parents have certain rights, and this may present a challenge as you seek to complete the stepparent adoption process.
Consent and parental rights
In all cases of stepparent adoption cases, there must be permission from both biological parents. Even if you want your spouse to adopt your kids, the other parent still has a right to stop this from moving forward. The termination of parental rights is often one of the most complicated aspects of stepparent adoption cases as this is not a step you can reverse if the other parent changes his or her mind in the future. However, it is possible for a court to decide to terminate the rights of the other parent in cases where he or she:
- Abandoned the child
- Is unfit
- Proves to not be the biological parent of the child
This is common in cases in which the other biological parent does not have a relationship with the child, has a history of abuse, has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, has a history of neglect or is in prison. For a stepparent adoption to proceed, the court will either have to terminate the rights of the other parent, or he or she must voluntarily give up his or her parental rights.
Your family’s future
If you want stepparent adoption to be a part of your family’s story, you will first benefit from an explanation of how this will work and what steps you will need to complete to make this happen. As with all family law matters, an understanding of the laws and requirements may help you avoid setbacks and accomplish your goals in a timely manner.