Securing a Second Parent Adoption - Principles & Procedure
If you are in a relationship, married/domestic partnered or not, you may be able to secure parental rights to your non-biological child through the second parent or stepparent/domestic partner adoption process.
To make sure you follow the right process, answer these questions first:
Were you, as the parent trying to adopt (the stepparent), in a marriage or domestic partnership with the birthparent at the time the child was born?
Are you (stepparent) and the birth parent still married or domestic partners?
If the answer to both questions is “yes”, the kind of adoption case you have is a stepparent adoption to confirm parentage. This is a simpler process - you will NOT need a social worker to do an investigation and you will NOT need to go to court for a court hearing. There are several steps to follow below – do steps 1-6 below and you will be done.
If you answered “no” to either question, you have a stepparent/domestic partner adoption case. Unfortunately, you will have to have an investigation by a social worker and go to court.
Follow all the steps below, 1-11.
1. Get information about the adoption process
2. Fill out your court forms
Fill out the following:
1. Adoption Request (Form ADOPT-200);
2. Adoption Agreement (Form ADOPT-210); and
3. Adoption Order (Form ADOPT-215).
If your case is a “stepparent adoption to confirm parentage”, you also have to fill out a Declaration Confirming Parentage in Stepparent Adoption (Form ADOPT-205) or other declaration providing the same information required by Form ADOPT-205. Both the birthparent and the adopting parent must fill out their own form.
3. Have your forms reviewed
4. Make at least 2 copies of all your forms
5. File your forms with the court clerk
6. Talk with the child about the adoption
If the child is 12 or older, he or she must agree to the adoption before the judge will order the adoption final. Children under 12 do not have to agree.
7. Serve your papers on the other birth parent – someone other than you has to do this.
8. Get the other birth parent’s consent to the adoption
9. Have an interview and investigation with an investigator
The investigator then writes a report and files it with the court (and sends you a copy). Ask your court clerk to find out who handles the investigation in your county. Usually, the investigation is done by a court investigator, a licensed social worker, or a licensed family therapist.
10. Get a court date
11. Go to your adoption hearing
Go to court. Take all the forms you have filled out. The child must go to the hearing.
Don’t get bogged down in the process. A child’s life is on the line. Get quality representation now.