Step parent adoption agency in San Bernardino, Ontario, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino.When a step parent makes the decision to adopt their step child, it is one of the most significant moments in that child's life, even if he or she isn't old enough to fully to understand it at the moment. Step parent adoption means that sharing a home, and being married to the child's parent, wasn't enough for the step parent - that he or she wanted to fully and legally take on the role of parent, as if the child was born to him or her, with the benefits and responsibilities that go with that. It 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 wishing to do a stepparent adoption in San Bernardino County.

Step Parent Adoption in San Bernardino County - Adopting a Step child Step-by-Step

Below you will find answers to common questions about adopting a step child in San Bernardino County. There are a few initial requirements: you must live in the county; the step parent must be married to one of the child's parents (or be a registered domestic partner); and the child must be under the age of 18. If the child is over 18 it is an adult adoption, completed via different laws and procedures.

Which San Bernardino County courthouse handles step parent adoptions?

Adopt a stepchild in Ontario, San Bernardino, Upland, Fontana, Chino, Rancho Cucamonga.
San Bernardino County
Central Courthouse

There are many Superior Court locations in San Bernardino County, but most step parent adoptions are handled in the County's Central Courthouse. There is a filing fee and later, a court reporter fee (both paid by attorney as part of the flat fee).

What Documents Will San Bernardino County require for a Step Parent Adoption?

The attorney will give you a list of the documents you will need, but they are easy to obtain if you don't already have them (the child's birth certificate, your marriage license, et cetera).

Does San Bernardino 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," not a home study. This is a shorter, simpler and less expensive process."

The assigned agency to do the required step parent investigation is the San Bernardino County Department of Children and Family Services. Their fee is $700. Randy or Allen will tell you about a new law which gives you the option of having the investigation done by a private adoption agency for the same fee, but much faster, usually completing the adoption within 3-5 months.

What Legal Pleadings Must Be Prepared to Adopt a Step Child in San Bernardino  County?

The process starts with Randy or Allen preparing the Adoption Request, one of nine pleadings normally filed in a step parent adoption. The attorney will review them with you in your consultation. In a standard step parent adoption where the absent parent in consenting is a flat fee of $2,500.

Will a New Birth Certificate Be Created to Change Our Child's Last Name?

Stepparent adoption attorney.An amended birth certificate will be created, allowing you to list the adopting step parent as a birth parent, and changing the child's name (perhaps changing the last name to match that of the stepfather).

What Are the rights of the Birth Father?

Birth fathers' rights are too complicated an area of law to discuss in this limited space and is best saved for your consultation with the attorney. 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 will not consent. (You can read 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.)

Is a trial required to grant a stepparent adoption?

Trials are only needed in contested actions. The typical step parent adoption is granted in a very casual and private hearing, to which you can even invite your friends. It is so casual you can even take photographs during the proceeding. The attorney attends the hearing with you and you leave court with a certified copy of the Adoption Order.

What is Your Experience and Qualifications as a step parent adoption attorney?

Step child adoption lawyer.

Hi, my name is Randy Hicks and I've exclusively practiced adoption law for for 36 years. But several years ago, 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 my Stepparent Adoption Center, which was created many years ago specifically to help families in their stepparent adoption.

I met Allen several 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 kind 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. 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 forced to retire early after being injured in the line of duty.

He began his own law practice focusing on family law and criminal law, including handling contested stepparent adoptions (for those occasional 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 attorneys in California. Most family law attorneys likely 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 has three children. His daughter has followed the family tradition of Allen and his wife and is serving in the US Armed Forces. 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 your desires, then 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) via a Zoom meeting. Allen handles cases throughout Southern California (specifically San Bernardino and San Diego Counties).

Law Office of Allen Hall
402 W. Broadway, Suite 1270
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 629-1725

[email protected]


It's easy to get started. . .

STEP ONE:  First, complete the online  QUESTIONNAIRE, then just click "submit" and wait for a call or email to schedule your consultation.

STEP TWO:  Sign the short and simple retainer when you are ready to move forward. In most cases the retainer can specify the flat fee of $2,500 (which includes the filing fee and office costs - so is all inclusive).

STEP THREE:  The attorney will prepare and send you the Adoption Request and required attachments within about 5 days of being retained, 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.