Cost of stepparent adoption

RANDALL HICKS - STEP PARENT ADOPTION LEGAL FEES

Randy strives for 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 guarantees:

  • 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, this is an adult adoption and the flat legal fee is $1,500.)
  • Randy pays your court filing fee out of his fee. You don't pay it.
  • Randy pays out-of-pocket costs out of his fee that attorneys typically you separately for: photocopies, long distance, postage, notary, milage to court.
  • Randy's fees are neither the cheapest nor the most expensive. If you compare his experience and credentials, however, you will see they greatly exceed those of other attorneys.

Hourly fees may only occur if the the absent parent's consent can't be obtained or there is a rare legal complication (such as Indian Child Welfare Act applicability), 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 $350 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.
  • 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 usually set for the same time, so you might be waiting a long time in the hallway before your hearing begins), and finally their travel time back to their office after your final hearing. (During Covid many courts now do the final hearing by video so this is less of an issue.)
  • Prepare the form for the amended birth certificate.

Ask yourself if you really think the attorney will end up only billing you for seven hours (7.1 X $350 = $2,500) to end up with a lower fee. Often it will be more, even with no complications.

A fee you pay directly is your stepparent investigation fee ($700 if done by the adoption agency Randy 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

Military discount for step parent adoption.Randy 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, Randy 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.

PAYMENT OPTIONS

For your convenience, Randy accepts payment by check, credit/debit card or PayPal.