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Adoption / Guardianship Attorney in Sonoma County

Family Lawyer Aiding Residents of Santa Rosa

If you are considering adopting your new spouse’s children, there are not only legal issues to discuss, but family-dynamic concerns that must be addressed, as well. At the Family Law Offices of Carol A. Gorenberg, our Santa Rosa family lawyer can answer your questions regarding adoption and guardianship, as well as assist with the adoption/guardianship process. We can also help couples who have adopted a child from out of the country with intercountry readoptions. Intercountry readoptions are mandatory for children who were issued an IR-4 Visa, because the child was not physically seen by all of their parents prior to the adoption, or the adoption was not finalized in the foreign country. During re-adoption, the state of California will issue a Final Judgment of Adoption, which ensures the child receives the same rights as other U.S. citizens.

Stepparent & Second Parent Adoptions

A stepparent adopting a spouse’s child is the most common form of adoption. When a stepparent wishes to adopt their new spouse’s children, they are agreeing to become the legal parent of said children. This means they are held completely responsible for the children, and the noncustodial parent’s rights and responsibilities-including paying child support-are terminated.

A stepparent can only adopt their spouse’s children if:

  • Both Birth Parents Give Their Consent; Or
  • The Noncustodial Parent Abandoned the Child.

If children have been abused by their noncustodial parent or do not have a relationship with them, it may be ideal for a stepparent to adopt. Second parent adoption occurs when a child is adopted by an individual who is not married to their parent. It allows the second parent to adopt a child without the legal parent losing their rights. Second parent adoption is a great option for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families.

Become a Legal Guardian to Your Stepchildren

If a stepparent does not want to completely remove the noncustodial parent out of their stepchildren’s lives, they can choose to become their legal guardian. This means that the stepparent has a legal relationship with the stepchildren and can make important decisions regarding their wellbeing, including:

  • Give Medical Consent
  • Provide Education
  • Provide Food
  • Provide Shelter
  • Provide Clothing

The noncustodial parent will still need to grant permission to the stepparent to become a legal guardian, but because the stepparent is not completely eliminating the noncustodial parent from the stepchildren’s lives, it is often much easier to obtain permission.

Contact a Santa Rosa Adoption Attorney at the Family Law Offices of Carol A. Gorenberg

The Santa Rosa adoption lawyer at the Family Law Offices of Carol A. Gorenberg can help families with the adoption and guardianship process. We can also educate clients regarding the positives and negatives to becoming a stepchild’s legal guardian or parent. Please contact our office at (707) 523-1810.