Being adopted by a step parent is one of the most significant moments in a child's life. It means that for the step parent - sharing a home, and being married to the child's parent, wasn't enough - that the step parent wanted to fully take on the role of parent, as if the child was also born to him or her, with the benefits and responsibilities that go with that. Stepparent adoption also provides legal security in case something were to happen to the existing parent, as without a step parent adoption the step parent has few guaranteed parenting rights. The information below is for those planning a stepparent adoption in Riverside County.
Step Parent Adoption in Riverside County - Adopting a Stepchild Step-by-Step
To file an Adoption Request in Riverside County there are a few core requirements. You must be a resident of the county. The stepparent must be married to (or registered domestic partner of) one of the child's parents. And the child must be under the age of 18. (If the adoptee is 18 or over, it is an adult adoption.)
Which Riverside County courthouse would handle my step parent adoption?
There are many Superior Courts in Riverside County but only a few handle adoptions. The correct one is based on where you live. There is a filing fee of $20 for a step parent adoption.
Does Riverside County Require a Home Study to adopt a step child?
No . . . and yes. A detailed home study, as is done in traditional adoptions (such as adopting a non-relative baby) is not required in a step parent adoption. In a step parent adoption there is an "investigation," which involves much less time, paperwork and cost. There are no required "home visits."
The assigned agency to do the required step parent investigation is the Riverside County Probation Department. Their fee is $344. The attorney will explain a relatively new law, however, which allows the investigation to be done by a licensed private adoption agency, which is much faster (often taking only 3-5 months start to finish).
Is a Court Hearing Required to Finalize a Stepparent Adoption?
Yes, but it is short and simple. (The judge even lets you take photos.) It is a private hearing, so only you and your guests, and your attorney, attend.
What Legal Documents are Required in Riverside County to Adopt a Step Child?
A typical stepparent adoption will involve nine legal documents, but the attorney prepares them all, however, so you don't need to worry about them. When you have your consultation with the attorney will explain about all these documents so you know what his services include. The flat fee for a standard stepparent adoption is $2,500 (which even includes the court filing fee and office costs). Details about the simple flat fee.
What Are the rights of the Birth Father?
Birth fathers' rights are a very complicated legal issue, too much so to discuss in this limited space. The short answer, however, is that there are two legal categories of fathers: alleged or presumed. There are multiple possible ways to terminate the rights of an absent parent if they can't be found or refuse to consent. (Click here for the "advanced Q & A" page on subjects such as this, but it is likely easier for you to learn the same facts during your initial consultation.)
Will the New Birth Certificate Change Our Child's Last Name?
A nice benefit of a step parent adoption is the free name change. You will receive an amended birth certificate. It lists the adopting step parent as the birth parent (in place of the absent parent) and allows you to change the child's name if you wish (perhaps matching the step father's last name).
What are Your Qualifications as an Adoption Attorney?
Hi, my name is Randy Hicks and I've limited my law practice to adoption for 36 years. Several years ago, however, as I got older - just look at all those wrinkles in my photo! - I started sending all my stepparent cases to my friend and fellow adoption attorney, Allen Hall. So please consider my information on this page as my introduction from you to Allen, so both you and he can benefit from the protocols of my Stepparent Adoption Center.
I met Allen many years ago when we were actually opposing lawyers on a case. I was so impressed with him, both as an attorney and as a very nice person, that we began working together - to this point where now I just send all stepparent adoption cases straight to him. (When you complete the Stepparent Adoption Questionnaire, it will go straight to Allen, independent of me.)
About Allen Hall. Unlike most attorneys who go straight from college into law school, Allen has had a lot of valuable life experience prior to graduating cum laude from Thomas Jefferson Law School. He served in the Air Force, then was a police officer before being injured in the line of duty and forced to retire early.
He began his own law practice focusing on family law and criminal law, including handling contested stepparent adoptions (for the cases that have contesting absent parents). Allen does about 75 stepparent adoptions a year, which likely places him as one of the most-selected stepparent adoption attorney in California, compared to most family law attorneys who just do one or two a year and mainly focus on divorce and child custody.
Allen is respected for his high ethics towards his clients, legal skill in this unique legal field, and maintaining the same low flat fee that I established when I created the Stepparent Adoption Center many years ago. Please go online and read his clients' glowing reviews in their 5-star Google, Yelp and Avvo ratings.
Allen is married and is the father of three children. His daughter has followed the family tradition of Allen and his wife and is serving in the US Armed Forces. When not practicing law, Allen is active in his church and likes to coach youth sports.
If you have a question about stepparent adoption not covered on the stepparent adoption page for your county, you are welcome to email a question to [email protected], but the normal first step is to complete the Stepparent Adoption Questionnaire to tell him more about your case and desires, click "submit" and Allen will contact you promptly to schedule a free, detailed 30-40 minute consultation to review the stepparent process (laws, procedures, costs, timetable) and discuss your case, via a Zoom meeting. Allen handles cases throughout Southern California (most specifically Riverside and San Diego Counties.)
Law Office of Allen Hall
402 W. Broadway, Suite 1270
San Diego, CA 92101
It's easy to get started. . .
STEP ONE: First complete the QUESTIONNAIRE, which gives the attorney details about your case to fully advise you. He will then contact you to schedule your free, detailed Zoom consultation. T Just click "submit."
STEP TWO: The attorney will email you his short and simple retainer. In most cases he can specify the flat fee of $2,500 (which includes the filing fee and office costs - so is all inclusive).
STEP THREE: The attorneywill prepare and send you the Adoption Request and required attachments within about 5 days of being retained. He will then file it with the court and the process begins. He will continue to work with you until he appears with you in court to finalize the adoption, usually about 3-5 months later.