SPECIAL NOTICE: Randy does his consultations (approximately 30 minutes and free) by phone or video (Zoom), whichever you prefer. There is no need to leave your home, so no coronavirus worries. To schedule your free consultation, complete the Stepparent Adoption Questionnaire.
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. Randy will explain a new law, however, which allows the investigation to be done by a licensed private adoption agency, which is much faster (often taking only 3-4 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 Randy as your attorney, attend. For now and the near future, however, due to Covid safety issues, the final hearing is done by video hearing. You simply stay home and log into the court's special link from your computer.
What Legal Documents are Required in Riverside County to Adopt a Step Child?
A typical stepparent adoption will involve nine legal documents, but Randy prepares them all, however, so you don't need to worry about them. When you have your consultation with him he will tell you about all these documents so you know what his services include. Randy's flat fee for a standard stepparent adoption is $2,500 (which even includes the court filing fee and office costs). Details about Randy's 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. (Randy has an "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 Randy's Qualifications as an Adoption Attorney?
Randy has practiced adoption law exclusively for 34 years. he has a five star client rating from Avvo, an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, is a member of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers, has an "AV - preeminent" rating by Martindale-Hubbell (the highest possible rating and earned by less than 3% of attorneys nationwide), has been an adoption expert on many national TV programs and has authored many adoption books. Read client reviews and verify Randy's credentials. He is the author of one of Amazon's most popular books in the "step parenting books" category, STEP PARENTING: 50 One-Minute DOs & DON'Ts. Randy is also a novelist. If you love to read, check out his newest novel, co-authored with his daughter, The Girl Without a Face.
Stepparent Adoption Center
11801 Pierce Street #200
Riverside, CA 92505
It's easy to get started. . .
STEP ONE: You are welcome to call Randy to get briefly acquainted (951-787-8300). He will be happy to answer a question or two. For a full consultation, however (about 30 minutes), you need to first fill out a short questionnaire, which gives him details about your case to fully advise you. The consultation is free and can be by phone or in person. Most people start by simply completing the online questionnaire. Just click "submit" when you are done and Randy will contact you about scheduling a consultation.
STEP TWO: Randy 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 Randy's office costs - so is all inclusive).
STEP THREE: Randy will prepare and send you the Adoption Request and required attachments within 13-4 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 3-4 months later.
11801 Pierce Street #200 • Riverside, CA 92505 • 951-787-8300