It is not uncommon for an adult stepchild to be adopted. In view of an uncooperative father or mother, some stepparents wait for the stepchild to reach the age of majority to bypass the protest of a biological parent. Adopting an adult stepchild allows a parent to obtain a parent-child relationship recognized under state law. If you want to know how to adopt an adult stepchild, there are some important things to be aware of. First, the consent of a biological parent is not required in an adult stepchild adoption. Once adopted, the stepchild has the same rights as a biological child. For example, adopted children can inherit from their parents through intestate succession under California laws. Parents can also make medical decisions on behalf of the adopted stepchild.
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.
How to Adopt an Adult Stepchild
First, when learning about how to adopt an adult stepchild, you may want to read California Family Code section 9300-9340. These code sections outline the requirements to adopt an adult stepchild. With this in mind, we highly recommend you review the sections before you begin the filing process.
Secondly, aside from a few courts who have set up local court forms, there are no standard judicial forms for the adult adoption process. This means that all of the documents for adult stepchild adoption must be prepared in pleading form. With this in mind, the moving party must draft a petition, the agreement, consents, the order and other documents from scratch. Furthermore, you must type all documents on 28-line pleading paper. As you can see, the Petition must comply with many court requirements. In general, however, the petition must detail the nature of the parent-stepchild relationship and the reason the moving party is requesting the adoption.
Upon filing the adult adoption case, you will receive a case number and hearing date. Lastly, keep in mind that the moving party and stepchild must attend the hearing in person. The judge will typically sign the Order at the adoption hearing.
Documents Required to Adopt an Adult Stepchild
The following documents must be drafted to petition the court to grant a petition for an adult stepchild adoption:
- Adoption Agreement. First, both parties must execute an adoption agreement. The adoption agreement states that both parties agree to enter into a parent-child relationship and recognize all rights, duties, and obligations of such a relationship.
- Petition for the Approval of an Adoption Agreement. Next, the moving party must prepare the adoption Petition. This document asks the court to grant the adoption. In brief, the petition typically includes various items of personal information about each party such as:
The age of the parties;
The nature and length of the stepchild-parent relationship;
The marital status of each party, and
The reason the parties are seeking to enter into this type of relationship.
- Spousal Consent. Another key point, if the moving party is married, his/her spouse must also provide consent in writing to the adult stepchild adoption. By the same token, if a party is single, confirmation of their single status is also usually required.
- Court Report of Adoption. In essence, this document allows the birth certificate and/or name to be legally changed.
- Order of Adoption. The Order of Adoption confirms the adoption if the adoption petition is granted. The Order is also drafted on pleading paper. You should take the order to the adoption hearing so the judge can sign the document at that time.
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.
Low-Cost Adoption Help
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 today at 800-747-2780 for more information about how we an help you!
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