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Stepparent Adoption

Carlsbad Step-Parent Adoption Lawyer Serving Vista, Oceanside and North County

My name is Peter Thompson, and I am an experienced step parent adoption attorney serving Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista and North County San Diego as well as Kearney Mesa where the Juvenile Court is located. Stepparent adoption can be a beautiful opportunity for loving parents to formalize a relationship that exists within their own home. Usually, a child from a previous relationship is living with a married couple, and the non-biological parent wishes to become the legal parent of that child under the laws of the State of California. If there has been at least a one year period of no contact and no support by the biological parent, there is a strong likelihood that we can successfully petition the court to terminate the parental rights of the non-custodial parent, and gain approval for the finalization of the step-parent adoption.

A successful stepparent adoption accomplishes quite a lot in the eyes of the law. First and foremost, for all intents and purposes the step parent gains all rights and responsibilities related to the child as if they were the biological parent. The child is able to change their last name to the name of the adopting parent (if appropriate), and receives all of the benefits and rights as an heir to the adopting parent.

Challenges to Step-parent Adoption

I encourage my step-parent adoption clients to keep the end result in mind throughout their case. It is possible for the biological parent to contest the adoption of the child. Here in North County, as long as the time frame for the one year of "no contact and no support" has passed, and we can provide evidence to support this we are likely to prevail. Even in cases where minimal contact has occurred, California law dictates that "token" efforts are insufficient to negate the one year period. California is always focused upon what is in the best interest of the child.

In cases where some support has been paid, or the biological parent simply resists the adoption there is still a lot I can do to help. I have had success working with biological parents who are strongly opposed to a step-parent adoption, helping them to understand the likely outcome of a trial and the potential benefits of working together on a settlement. I have been able to help find common ground and work with the opposing party to resolve conflicts in stepparent adoption cases where my clients thought the situation was hopeless.

The Stepparent Adoption Process

The process to successfully complete a step parent adoption is complex and paperwork intensive. The biological parent must be personally served, and if they cannot be found we will provide public notices that meet the requirements of the State of California. Along the way, there will be interviews with social workers and representatives of the Court. The next steps in the adoption process are (in simplest terms) to prove that in legal terms "abandonment" has occurred, and demonstrate that adoption would be in the best interests of the child. This will ultimately terminate the parental rights of the biological parent, and allow for the finalization of the adoption.

There are too many places for well intentioned do it yourself adoptions to go wrong. The legal requirements are strict, and the Court will not accept errors in the process or incomplete evidentiary paperwork. Due to my extensive experience with these cases I am able to help you to navigate the process from start to finish. I strive to make the experience as easy as possible in terms of time, emotion and cost. The timeframe in these cases can be as little as six months, but can extend well beyond that depending upon resistance from the biological parent and the availability of the court.

Contact an Experienced Vista and Kearny Mesa Stepparent Adoption Attorney

Step parent adoption can only be accomplished at two facilities in San Diego: The Vista Superior Courthouse and the Juvenile Court in Kearny Mesa. I invite you to contact me, or call 760-356-8031 for a free consultation. I will apply my experience, expertise and interpersonal skills to help bring the adoption to a successful conclusion for a fixed fee, so that you and your child can move forward together as the family you already are.

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Thompson and Belnap, APC
2888 Loker Ave East
Suite 221
Carlsbad, CA 92010
Phone: 760-356-8031

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