There are many reasons you may decide to adopt your adult stepchild. Unfortunately this process is not available in all states. In addition, sometimes it is not possible to adopt a stepchild while they are a minor. For example, if a biological father or mother refuses to consent, it may not be possible to adopt. However, once a child turns 18 years of age, parental consent is no longer necessary. This article will provide a brief overview on the benefits of adopting an adult stepchild in California and the documents required to do so.

Benefits of Adopting an Adult Stepchild

There are many benefits to adopting an adult stepchild. Adopting your adult stepchild in California allows you to establish legal rights and responsibilities towards them. For example, if your adopted adult stepchild was hospitalized and non-responsive, you could potentially make medical decisions on his or her behalf. An adopted adult stepchild can also inherit from your estate. As you can see, there are many benefits in adopting an adult stepchild.

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A People’s Choice responded to emails and questions right away. I’m so glad my husband found this company and saved me many headaches. If you’re on the fence about choosing them for your legal needs, please do, you won’t be disappointed! Everything was a breeze and they were very thorough. Thank you A People’s Choice!!!!” Tricia P.

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Since you are considering adopting an adult stepchild in California, you should be aware of your options to complete the necessary paperwork. Hiring an attorney is obviously very expensive. The good news is that you don’t need to hire an attorney to complete an adult adoption process in California. A People’s Choice can help prepare and file all the forms you need to begin the process, including scheduling a hearing, and you don’t need to hire a lawyer! Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to adopt your adult stepchild in California.

Steps to Adopting an Adult Stepchild in California

The procedures for adopting an adult stepchild are found in the California Family Code section 9300-9340. You should read these code sections before beginning the process.  There are no Judicial Council forms to complete for adopting an adult stepchild. Therefore, unless a county has created specific local forms for this process, the petition to adopt your stepchild must be typed on a 28-line pleading paper. The petition must include specific language about the parties, their marital status, and other details in the adult stepchild adoption request.

The following documents must be drafted and signed by all parties to request an adult stepchild adoption with the court:

  • Adoption Agreement. The adoption agreement states that the parties consent to the stepchild adult adoption. The parties agree to enter into a parent-child relationship and to assume all rights, duties, and responsibilities thereof.
  • Petition for the Approval of an Adoption Agreement.  This petition is submitted to the court to formally ask for the approval of the adoption agreement. The petition must include the age of the parties, the nature and length of the relationship, and the reason the parties are seeking the adoption. The petition must be specific about why the adoption is in the best interest of the parties.
  • Order of Adoption. This document serves as the formal court order for a granted adoption. The order should be presented at the adoption hearing for the judge to sign.
  • Spousal Consent. Spousal consent must be provided if any of the parties are married.
  • Declaration of Single Status. If a party is not married, they must declare they are single.

In addition to the above, sometimes there are other local jurisdictional documents to complete and file with the above documents. Upon filing your documents, the court clerk will file your petition, give you a case number, and set a hearing date. Keep in mind that the time to process the documents and set a hearing will vary dramatically from court to court. Some courts file the documents and will set a hearing within a matter of weeks. Other courts may take several months before you hear from them.

The Adult Adoption Hearing

At the adoption hearing, the judge will ask both parties a series of questions about the adoption. Refer to your petition when responding to the judge. Keep in mind, the court hearing is usually a celebrated event. Often the court encourages photographs to be taken with the judge. If everything is in order, the petition will be granted. The signed Order of Adoption must then be filed with the court clerk. The clerk will give you a certified copy upon request. Next, you will need to get the documents you need to amend your birth certificate.

Completing the Adult Adoption Forms

If you are considering adopting an adult stepchild in California, we urge you to contact A People’s Choice for help! Since adult adoptions are not a “form based” process, these cases are often difficult for a lay person to prepare. A People’s Choice offers flat fee adult stepparent adoption services. Call us at 800-747-278 for more information about how we an help you!

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