STEP PARENT ADOPTION LEGAL FEES: $2,500
ADULT ADOPTION LEGAL FEES: $2,250
Affordable and transparent legal fees. If your step parent adoption is uncontested - as most are - meaning the absent parent can be found and is willing to sign a consent, your retainer provides:
- A flat fee of $2,500. There are no hourly fees. This is for the adoption of a minor. If you are adopting a person/stepchild age 18 or over, that would be an adult adoption and the flat legal fee is $2,250. Unlike stepparent adoption of a minor, where we are dealing with required investigations, potentially unfindable or non-consenting absent parent, et cetera, in an adult adoption none of those issues are relevant, so the legal fee is simpler.
- Attorney pays your court filing fee out of his fee. You don't pay it.
- Attorney pays out-of-pocket costs out of his fee (for uncontested adoptions) that other attorneys typically you separately for: photocopies, long distance, postage, notary, milage to court.
- Please compare other attorneys' fees and experience, then return here. The average fee you will likely see for an uncontested stepparent adoption, by an attorney with little true adoption experience, will be $3,500-$4,000.
Hourly fees may only occur if the the absent parent's consent can't be obtained or there is a legal complication, which normally can be identified before you start.
A sad reality is that many attorneys quote you a low price, then end up charging you much more by the time you have completed your finalization hearing, saying "It took longer than expected." To see how easy and likely that is to happen, consider that most SoCal family law attorneys charge about $400 an hour. Imagine how quickly that will add up when counting all his or her time spent with you or on your behalf:
- Researching the proper procedures.
- Preparing your legal documents (on average 8-10 pleadings/attachments).
- Writing needed correspondence to the court and parties.
- Working with the agency caseworker in their investigation.
- Reading the agency's final court report.
- Setting the final hearing.
- Their travel time to court for your final hearing, then the time at court for your final hearing (be aware 5-12 cases are often set for the same time in some counties, so you might be waiting a long time in the hallway before your hearing begins)(if not by video), and finally the attorney's travel time back to their office after your final hearing, at which time they will likely charge you to scan and close your case and send you closing documents.
- Prepare the form for the amended birth certificate.
A fee you pay directly is your stepparent investigation fee ($700 if done by the adoption agency Allen usually works with - lower for some counties if you elect to have the county investigation department do it instead: San Diego: $270; Riverside: $344; Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino county investigations are $700. Other than the step parent fingerprinting of $64, these are the only cost you normally will have.
Here is a transparent summary of fees:
Legal services: $2,500
Investigation fee: $700 (or less in some counties)
Fingerprinting cost: $64
Total cost: $3,264
10% Military Discount
Allen (prior service in the Air Force) has great respect and appreciation for the men and women serving in the Armed Services. If the step parent (or their spouse) is active military, he discounts his flat fee by 10%, thus $2,250 rather than $2,500. This is a small way to say thanks for your selfless service.
For your convenience, we accept payment by check, credit/debit card or PayPal.