Saturday, October 18, 2008
Adoptions in Temecula: Step-Parent Adoptions
An adoption action where a child who is not biologically related to one or more parents acquires all the rights of a natural child. Once an adoption is finalized, the adopting parent is obligated to love and support the adopted child as the child was the parent's own. One common type of adoption is when a step-parent assumes the role of the natural parent. This is commonly called a step-parent adoption. In this situation one of the parents is already the natural parent of the child, meaning that only the step-parent need adopt the child. At the end of the adoption process, the step parent is afforded all of the rights and all of the responsibilities of a natural parent. If the step-parent later divorces the natural parent, both parents are treated equally under the law. The natural parent will not be given any preference in awarding custody and each parent will be obligated to pay child support. For this reason, the filing of an adoption proceeding is not one which should be taken lightly by the parents. Before a step-parent may adopt the child, the parental rights of one parent must be terminated because the step-parent will replace the role of one of the child's natural parents. This is done by the filing of a lawsuit in either Riverside or Hemet. Once the lawsuit is filed, the child's relatives and natural parent whose rights are being terminated have a chance to object. If they do, there will be a trial to determine the child's best interests. Generally speaking, the process takes six to nine months. Adoption proceedings are complicated and should not be attempted without the help of an experienced adoption attorney. If you are considering an adoption, you are welcome to contact our office to set up a free consultation.