6 steps to complete a Stepparent Adoption:
What is Stepparent Adoption?
A Stepparent Adoption is when the spouse of a child's custodial parent adopts that child. Social Services prefers that the stepparent be married to the other parent at least one year before adoption.
The stepparent and custodial parent will fill out court forms. There will be a hearing in Court. The child to be adopted, the natural parent who the child will live with, and the adopting stepparent must go to the hearing.
This page explains the steps you have to take for a stepparent adoption.
- Complete the forms
- Get consent
- Mailing to Social Services
- DCSS home visit and investigation
- Before the hearing
- The hearing
- Other adoption information at this site
- Complete the forms
Fill out an Information Sheet and Questionnaire. You can get this form from the Probate Clerk's Office at the Downtown Superior Court, or call Social Services at:
Fill out these Judicial Council forms:
You can download the forms you need from the forms page of the Judicial Council website .
Tip: Use the dropdown box on the state forms page to choose “Adoption.” Then, click the “See forms” button.
Or, buy them from a bookstore or stationery store. (Check the Yellow Pages under Legal Documents.)
Get consent from the biological parent who is giving up custody of the child. You can get the consent forms from the Stepparent Adoption Investigator at Social Services:
If the other parent doesn’t want to sign a consent form, file a Petition to end their parental rights.
If that parent is the mother or a Presumed Father, file an Abandonment Petition Freeing the Child From Parental Custody and Control.
If the other parent is an Alleged Father, file a Termination Petition Terminating the Parental Rights of Alleged Father.
To learn how to fill out these forms, read How to Adopt your Stepchild in California. You can find these forms at bookstores, stationery stores and printers.
Mail your completed Information Sheet and Questionnaire and a check for $200 to:
Separate Administrative Functions
Social Services Agency
373 West Julian St.
Building 2, Floor 2
San Jose, CA 95110
Contact Janet Lee, C168; Phone: (408) 975-5374
The Department of Social Services will contact you to schedule a home visit. In a few months, the Department will do an investigation. They will interview the child, so be sure to explain to the child that you are trying to adopt him/her.
When you get your file-stamped copy of the Stepparent Adoption report, call the Calendar Clerk at the Probate Department to schedule your adoption hearing. (Click for Probate section of Court Telephone Numbers web page.)
If the other parent did not give up his/her rights or if the Court has not ended his/her rights, you must file a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights first before you schedule your adoption hearing.
If you can’t locate the other parent and he is a presumed father, you must publish the notice in a newspaper. Talk to a lawyer for help with this process. You can find a lawyer from the membership list of the Silicon Valley Bar Association’s website . You can also get a referral to a lawyer from the Santa Clara County Bar Association . Their phone number is 408-971-6822 .
The stepparent, the custodial parent and the child must go to the Adoption Hearing. Get to Court 20 minutes early and let the clerk know you are there.
If you didn’t already file these forms, bring the originals and 2 copies of your forms to your hearing:
If the other parent did not sign a Consent form, talk to a lawyer for help with this process.What do I do after the hearing?
Go to the Probate Department at the Downtown Superior Court to file your papers. You can get certified copies of the Order of Adoption for free. Just ask the clerk.