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Step-parent adoption occurs when one parent has custody of a child from a previous relationship and his or her current spouse or domestic partner seeks to become the child’s other legal parent.

Family adoption occurs when a member of the child’s family (other than their biological parent) seeks to adopt the minor child.  This can be grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  Often, this adoption occurs after a guardianship has been in place for some period of time, although a guardianship is not a prerequisite.

The process for Step-parent/Domestic Partner/Family adoption usually begins with the preparation and filing of the petition for adoption. There is an investigation of the prospective adoptive parent(s), which will be conducted according to the protocol of the county where the adopting parent(s) live(s). Each county is different, and Burke Law Firm, Inc. is experienced working with the courts and their investigators in the counties we serve, including Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado & Yuba.

After the investigation and before the adoption can be finalized, one of the following must occur:

  • Both parents must consent to the adoption, or
  • The biological father/mother must waive his/her rights, or
  • The court must terminate the parental rights of the other parent (in a step-parent adoption) or both parents (in a family adoption).

Terminating the parental rights of one or both parents is a necessary step in any adoption of a minor.  Burke Law Firm, Inc. can help you navigate this technical minefield and advise you of the best course of action.  Once the termination of rights is obtained, we can help you complete the adoption process.

Adult Adoption

Two adults who are not related to one another are allowed obtain a legal relationship with one another as parent and adult child through the process of adult adoption.  This often occurs when there is already a significant informal parent/child relationship existing, such as in the case of a stepparent or other person that has provided a parental role in the younger adult’s life. An adult adoption may make it easier to deal with some of the complex issues involved with estate planning.

In an adult adoption there is no requirement for an investigation or consent of the biological parents of the adoptee. The court does ask about the reason or purpose for seeking an adult adoption, which our Firm will include in the documents we submit to the court. Adult adoptions can be completed much more quickly that adoptions involving minors.

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