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 $1,500. This would only change if the the absent parent's consent can't be obtained or there is a rare 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 $300 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
- 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)
- Their travel time back to their office after your final hearing
- Prepare the form for the amended birth certificate.
Ask yourself if you really think the attorney will end up only billing you for five hours (5 X $300 = $1,500) to end up with a lower fee. Often it will be double, even with no complications.
Randy's flat fee of $1,500 also includes what lawyers call "out of pocket" or "actual" costs, like notary, the court filing fee, postage, mileage to court, et cetera. Randy includes these expenses in his flat fee for uncontested adoptions. The only exception is cases filed in Los Angeles County as it is the only SoCal county which charges $160, rather than $20, for the filing fee (so Los Angeles County residents have a slightly higher flat fee).
The $1,500 flat fee applies to almost all uncontested stepparent adoptions. An exception, however, is if you live in a remote section of your county which requires Randy to file your Adoption Request there. The extra time for travel to a distant court may require an additional fee. This is rare and Randy will tell you in you in advance if you live in such a region.
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; 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: $1,500
Investigation fee: $700 (or less in some counties)
Fingerprinting cost: $64
Total cost: $2,264
10% Military Discount
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 $1,350 rather than $1,500. This is a small way to say thanks for your selfless service.
For your convenience, Randy accepts payment by check, credit card or PayPal.