Step parent adoptions are fairly common in California, and generally occur when a step-parent has become a parental figure to their step child, usually from a pretty young age. There are specific forms in California to file for step parent adoptions, which start the court process.
One of the main concerns in step-parent adoptions is a report that is generated by family court services, or a similar branch of the courts.
Essentially, this is a report based on the investigation done by court personnel regarding whether or not the adoption is in the best interest of the child. They will consider things like the strength of the relationship between the child and step-parent, whether or not the child wants the adoption, and whether or not the home life is a good one. The existence of step-siblings in the home can also have an influence on the report. A final major consideration is the rights of the birth parent.
Unless the birth parent is unknown, a termination of the birth parent’s parental rights will need to be filed at the same time. A child cannot be adopted while the birth parent still has parental rights. An overview of this process can be viewed here: http://swansonodell.sitesdev.net/2016/03/30/when-can-parental-rights-be-terminated-in-a-family-law-case/
Sometimes step-parent adoptions can be delayed while the process of termination of parental rights is completed. The process can take a while, but the benefits of a step-parent adoption by a good step-parent can be stability and preservation of the family unit that has, in fact, already been functioning as a family.
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