How to Legally Adopt a Stepchild After Parent Abandonment
If there is one thing that can greatly impact a child's life, it is knowing they were abandoned by one or both of their birth parents. In some situations, couples that get married find themselves raising stepchildren, whom they may decide at some point they would like to adopt. But to do so in many of these situations, they will need to prove child abandonment has taken place before being given formal custody. In California, there are various laws pertaining to child abandonment and how courts must handle these situations. If you are eager to adopt your stepchild, schedule a meeting with a family law attorney Los Angeles residents trust from Burns Law to learn more about the process.
Importance of Hiring a Lawyer for Adoption
What is Considered to be Child Abandonment?
If you are wanting to prove child abandonment, you will need to make sure the situation meets certain criteria. For example, a parent is viewed as having abandoned their child if they have left he or she with the other parent for more than one year and have no communication with them during that time. Also, it may be considered abandonment if the child was left with a person other than a parent for a period of at least six months, also without any communication taking place. Other situations that can be viewed as abandonment include a child being left in the care of foster parents or in custody of the state. Whatever your situation, speak to an attorney for step child adoption from Burns Law to know how to move forward with your adoption plans.
Lack of Communication is the Key
In most instances when wanting to prove child abandonment, it will be crucial that you be able to show the court no communication has taken place between the child and their parent for an extended period of time. Whether it is in-person visits, phone calls, letters, text messages, or anything else, the court will look long and hard at the fact that no communication has occurred over a period of months or years. To make sure you are clear as to the importance of the lack of communication and how to legally adopt a stepchild in California, consult as soon as possible with attorneys at Burns Law.
A Difficult Process
Even if you know the other parent has had no communication with their child and has no intention of ever being involved in the child's life, proving child abandonment can nevertheless be a difficult process. To begin with, you must submit an affidavit or testimony to the court stating there has indeed been no communication between the parent and child for the specified period of time. Once you have done so, the child's parent will have the chance to prove otherwise. If they are not present, you may not have any roadblocks in your way. However, if the child's other parent is present, they may claim they have communicated with their child or have made attempts to do so along the way. If this happens, the court may be reluctant to terminate parental rights until additional details of the case are examined. Since adopting a step child can be complex, turn to Burns Law for assistance.
The Other Parent's Rights
Even when parents abandon their children, courts are somewhat reluctant to formally terminate their rights. However, it is vital you make every effort to terminate the person's parental rights during the adoption process. If you fail to do so, the other parent may still be able to establish visitation and custody with the child, making an already complex situation more difficult. To make sure you follow all necessary steps to accomplish this, work with a step child adoption lawyer Los Angeles parents trust at Burns Law.
Agreeing to Terminate Parental Rights
When you want to adopt a stepchild, the best thing that can happen for you and the child is to have the other parent agree to have their parental rights terminated. Should this happen, you will be able to avoid costly litigation that can drag out for months or even longer. However, remember that an agreement with family law court will still need to be filed as soon as possible. Once this is done, a court order can be issued officially terminating the other person's parental rights. To have this done promptly and correctly, work with a family law attorney Los Angeles clients trust at Burns Law.
Whether it is the child's biological mother or father whose parental rights you are seeking to terminate, it will make no difference to the court. While in years past mothers may have gotten more preference in these situations, today's laws now also allow fathers to keep parental rights in many of these instances. Therefore, never assume that if the other parent is the child's father that they stand no chance of winning their case. Instead, consult with an attorney for step child adoption from Burns Law to learn how best to proceed.
Using Good Judgement
When you are adopting a stepchild, always make sure you use good judgement and plenty of common sense when consulting with an attorney from Burns Law as to how to legally adopt a stepchild. By doing so, you will have a much better chance of winning your case. If there is one thing you do not want to do in these situations, it is let your emotions guide your thinking. If you do, you may end up making the other parent look far better than they actually are, thereby putting the child's adoption in peril. To ensure you get the results you want, always listen to your attorney and allow them to present your case in a positive manner to the court.
Since this process will be extremely important to you and your family, never work with an inexperienced attorney. Instead, schedule your consultation today with a step child adoption lawyer Los Angeles residents trust with these matters, such as a skilled attorney at Burns Law.