Step-Parent Adoption Lawyer

in California

When you marry a spouse who has a child, or children, you may be interested in formally adopting your spouse’s children as your own. It is important to understand that the laws governing stepparent adoption are complex and it is perfectly understandable if you feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the process. This is when it makes sense to retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable step-parent adoption lawyer in Novato to discuss the process.
When you hire a seasoned family law attorney in California, they can help ease your anxieties and walk you through the adoption process so you know what to expect and how long it will take to, hopefully, formalize your parental relationship with your step-child.

The average time for a step parent adoption in California to be completed is 2-4 months from filing. 

Request a Consultation

California Law Governing Step-Parent Adoption

According to California Family Code § 9000, the adoption of a stepchild requires the written consent of the other birth parent. Without consent, the only other option is to get a court order terminating the other biological parent’s parental rights. To start this process, a step-parent seeking to adopt a child of the step-parent’s spouse or domestic partner can file a formal petition with a family law court to be recognized as the legal parent of their step-child.

When you file a petition for step-parent adoption, it is important to understand that you are asking the court for permission to become legally responsible for the welfare of your step-child, or step-children. This means that upon successful adoption, your step-child will become your child under the law.

Investigation is Required Before Your Adoption is Finalized

Some step-parents are surprised to discover that county and state officials will conduct a thorough investigation of your background (including a criminal background check via fingerprinting) before approving a step-parent adoption. The investigation is conducted because government officials want to ensure that your adoption will be in the best interests of your step-child.

There are some documents you will be asked to produce during the investigation, including:

• Certified copy of your step-child’s birth certificate

• Certified copy of your marriage license

• Certified copy of your birth certificate

• If either spouse has a prior marriage, then a copy of the dissolution order

Things to keep in mind through the

Step Parent Adoption

Securing Biological Parent’s Consent is Important

When you are attempting to adopt your step-child, it is important to take affirmative steps to secure the consent of the biological parent who is no longer in the picture. There is a specific form that the birth parent needs to sign (i.e. the Consent to Adoption form). This form needs to be signed by the birth parent, notarized, and filed with the court.

Consent from Your Stepchild May Be Required

Once you secure the consent of the biological parent, you may need to obtain your step-child’s consent, depending on their age. Under California law, if your step-child is twelve (12) years of age or older, then your step-child needs to consent to the adoption. However, if your step-child is under the age of 12, then they do not have to consent to the adoption.


Jeremy Castro helped me with an adoption after my daughter’s dad passed away. My husband has been a step dad to her for 8 years and wanted to adopt her. Even though there is no way he can completely fill the role of her deceased father, he wanted to fully be there for her and offer comfort and emotional support for her. Jeremy and his wife Danielle were there every step of the way for us! I’m so grateful they were there to help with all of our questions and guide us though this process. Jermey’s passion for helping bring families together was so delightful.
This review is about my experience with Jeremy and team at Castro Law. After calling around numerous times to different firms, going to the law library, and reaching out to dads rights advocates. I still didn’t get much help. I made the best choice of my life by calling Castro Law. If you’re reading this I recommend at least giving them a call because they mean business. I finally feel at peace , they went above and beyond for me. The team is great at communicating, very knowledgeable, helpful, and are professional. In my experience mothers are the one favored in the courts, and get the better outcome. Jeremy and team were in my corner the whole time and proved that dads have rights too! Im with this team until my kids are 18 , thanks again Castro Law
I highly recommend Jeremy Castro and his associates to any future clients. They are legal professionals who: 1. Know and apply the law to your individual case to achieve the best possible outcome 2. Communicate in a fair and straightforward manner to all parties 3. Reduce the tension in an otherwise emotional setting and assist making objective decisions. They personally saw my case through to an amicable conclusion and their billing hours were appropriate. First class performance!
I wanted to take this time to write a review about my experience with Castro Law Offices. First off, they were not only FAST to my reply, but also very kind to my emotional situation. I was even handed some tissues for when I was crying. I was treated with the upmost respect (even though I'm sure I looked a little manic while in there explaining my case.) and kindness. They got my case close within a week, and also got me EVERYTHING I was asked for. I recommend Castro Law for ANYONE in need of lawyer assistance. Jeremy and his team work hard, day and night to make sure they meet all of their client's needs. If you're looking for immediate help and guidance with ANY attorney, Castro Law.
When things came to a point of contention with my children's father I knew I needed the help of an attorney. After weeks long search and hundreds of dollars in consultation fees with numerous other attorneys I finally found Jeremy! He is very knowledgeable regarding family law issues, authentic in his character and legal advice, as well as very reliable. As anyone in our shoes has been knows, the unknown can be very stressful. Jeremy made it a point to get back to me promptly when I contacted him...sometimes late into the night. He also was very transparent regarding communication with the other party. Would absolutely recommend Jeremy to anyone with with family law needs!
I was so happy I had decided to hire the Castro Law Office for my child custody and visitation case in Napa County. As a single father of three boys in the state of California, I felt as if I was already doomed thinking that the state would favor the mother regardless of my capability to care for our children. Jeremy was very empathetic and worked diligently to get myself in a good position for the hearing, as I hired him approximately a month prior to the court date. During the hearing, he was very stern and aggressive at the right moments. The situation I was in was extremely stressful and hiring the Castro Law Office helped put my mind at ease. He was very upfront and honest with me from the beginning and which is a trait I greatly appreciated. In the end, we were able to obtain an agreement that is best suited for the children and ourselves. I would hire them again for any other issues I might have in the future.

Have Questions About Adoption Laws In California?

Schedule a Confidential Case Review with an Experienced Attorney Today

If you are looking to adopt a child in California, Castro Law Offices, P.C. is here to help. We are a premier California law firm specializing in adoption issues, divorce, child custody, and all other issues concerning domestic relations. Castro Law Offices, P.C. is based in Novato, California, but is ready and able to provide legal services and advice to clients in and around Marin County including Novato, San Rafael, Greenbrae, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Sausalito, Larkspur, West Marin, Ross, Mill Valley and Corte Madera. Contact Castro Law Offices, P.C. today to schedule a confidential consultation.