When you marry into a family with children, a time may come when you want to formalize your parental relationship with your spouse’s kids. Stepparent adoptions in California are not as hard as other adoptions, but you will still be required to follow the state’s regulations and laws.
For example, if both biological parents are alive, you must get their consent. The person you are married to will likely give his or her permission eagerly. However, getting the other parent to agree is not always a simple matter. If the other parent refuses, you may be able to adopt anyway by terminating his or her parental rights.
How can you have a parent’s rights terminated?
Of course, you must have a proper reason to seek termination of parental rights. Below are several examples of circumstances in which this is possible.
- The parent is unfit: The court will look for evidence of neglect, abuse, mental illness, incarceration or substance abuse before deeming the parent unfit and terminating his or her rights.
- The parent abandoned the child: If the parent has not paid child support or spent any time with the child for a significant period, a court may terminate his or her parental rights.
- Not the child’s father: If there exists a belief that the presumed father is not the real dad, you may seek to terminate his rights if you can prove there is no biological relationship.
Many Sonoma County stepparents go on to successfully adopt the children they have come to love. Those who wish to adopt a stepchild can find help by partnering with an experienced law firm. Having someone to guide you through the process often makes your desire to formalize your parental role proceed smoothly.