The Legal Process of Adopting a Stepchild

Are you considering adopting your stepchild, but you aren’t sure of the next steps? Are you well aware of all the legal ramifications of becoming the legal guardian of that child?

Does the non-custodial parent understand their role in this process? If you are in the process of considering adopting your stepchild, there are a few things you must keep in mind and steps you must take to ensure the success of your application. Continue reading below to learn more about the process of stepchild adoption and who you can contact for more help.

Discuss Child Adoption as a Family

Adopting your stepchild is an exciting time full of several different emotions. Stepchild adoption is a monumental change as it will legally remove the child’s biological parent from their life, transform their stepparent into their legal dad or mom, and give the child a new name. This type of change is psychologically impactful for the child, so make sure you speak about the decision thoroughly before making your final decision. 

The biological parent must agree to give their legal rights over to the newly named legal guardian. It would be helpful if all parties attended family counseling to understand what comes with legal adoption fully. This will also help ensure that the child is also on board with what is going on. 

Understand the Legal Ramifications of Adopting Your Stepchild

As mentioned above, going through this process will legally remove one biological parent’s right to the child. Other legal ramifications come with adopting your stepchild. Consult with a family law practice attorney to help ensure everyone understands these legal responsibilities. 

Biological Parent’s Rights 

The biological parent must know and understand that once this process completes, they will no longer be considered the child’s legal guardian. Instead, that whole responsibility falls on the new spouse. If you divorce, the new spouse has the right to custody and visitation. If you decide to remarry and want the new spouse to adopt the child, you must seek consent from the adoptive parent, not the child’s biological parent. 

Legal Responsibilities

The new adopting parent takes on the responsibilities and legal rights associated with being this child’s parent. This also includes child support. If you and your partner divorce, the adoptive parent pays for child support, and they have the right to a share of the estate. 

Previous Inheritance

Any inheritance from a previous family goes away once the adoption goes through. The absent other relatives and grandparents of the adopted child can still make voluntary gifts, but they are not obligated to do so. Anything they set aside for the child before giving up their rights to the child is null and void. 

Assemble Your Documents

Once all parties are well informed of the ramifications that come with adopting this child, it’s time to prepare for the adoption process! At a minimum, you will need a copy of the child’s birth certificate and your marriage certification. If the absent parent is no longer alive, make sure you get a certified copy of their death certificate. 

If the non-custodial parent is alive, you will need to get their up-to-date address to serve the petition. If you don’t have the address, make sure you do your due diligence and try to look up their information.

This includes online searching, contacting their family, and looking through available directories. If you hire an attorney, they can do that groundwork for you. 

Consider Hiring an Attorney

Although you don’t have to hire an attorney to go through the adoption process, it would be best if you at least reached out to one for more information. If the non-custodial parents have no issues signing over their rights or are no longer alive, the adoption procedure is relatively straightforward.

If there is pushback from the other parent or a complicated situation, you should consult counsel. They can review your case for free before taking you on as their client. 

Research Adoption Fees

Each state schedules its own adoption fees that you must pay to the court to adopt your child. For example, in California, the adoption fee is only $20, whereas, in Texas, it’s $300. Payment is due at the time your file the petition. 

Other applicable fees:

  • Criminal history checks
  • Attorney’s fees for the child’s attorney
  • Court-mandated counseling
  • Fees for the new birth certificate

In general, it costs around $1600 to $2700 to adopt a child, depending on your state. If you have trouble paying for some of these filing fees, you can reach out to the court for assistance. The court will review your income and assets to determine whether you qualify to waive fees. 

Complete Your Petition

If you plan to adopt more than one child, you can adopt them all simultaneously with the same petition. Make sure that you complete the petition as best as you can. If you miss any details or use the wrong form, you could delay the adoption process. 

Unless you have legal training in writing a petition, you may want to seek the help of a family law attorney. They have experience writing those petitions, and they will make sure you submit the right documents. 

Start the Adoption Process

Nothing is more exciting than adopting a stepchild that you love and have made an impact on. Although those emotions are high, wild, and exciting, you will want to familiarize yourself with the legal ramifications that come with taking legal ownership over a child.

As long as all parties understand their role in the adoption process, it will go smoothly. Even if there is strife and conflict when adopting your stepchild, there is no need to worry; you can rely on the help of an attorney to get you through it. Contact us to find a family lawyer near you. 

adoption attorneys and why you should hire one

Need an Adoption Attorney? Here Are 5 Facts to Consider

More than 135,000 children are adopted by American families every year in the United States. In fact, over 2 million couples are currently waiting to adopt a child of their own. If you’re one of these families, you could speed up the process by hiring an adoption attorney. 

Not sure if that’s the right fit for you?

Keep reading below to learn some of the things you should consider about adoption attorneys.

What Does an Adoption Attorney Do?

In short, an adoption attorney helps you gain legal guardianship of a child that isn’t biologically yours. This can include a number of tasks.

Some of the things you can expect an adoption attorney to take care of includes the following:

  • Find an adoption agency
  • File the necessary legal paperwork
  • Advise you with “home studies” (in-home interviews with a social worker)
  • Represent you at hearings (if necessary)

An adoption attorney understands your legal rights. Because of this, they can help the adoption process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Am I Required to Hire an Attorney to Adopt?

You do not have to hire an adoption attorney to adopt a child.

Some types of adoptions are easier than others. For example, if you want a stepparent adoption, the process is pretty straightforward. You may be able to handle the work on your own.

However, it is often a good idea to hire an adoption attorney, even if the adoption seems simple.

It can be difficult to understand all the requirements you have to meet before you can adopt and all the paperwork you have to fill out to complete the adoption. If you try to adopt on your own and make a mistake, you can slow down the entire process.

In some cases, you may even hurt your changes.

Unless you have an extensive understanding of the adoption process, you should hire a lawyer to help you through it.


5 Things to Consider Before Hiring an Adoption Attorney 

Whether you’re leaning toward working with an adoption attorney or not, there are a few things you should consider before you hire.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most important factors.

1. Your Understanding of the Adoption Process

As mentioned above, if you don’t have a firm understanding of the adoption process, you should hire an attorney to help you.

Adoptions can become more complicated than they seem at first.

For example, the birth parents might change their mind about the adoption. Or they might try to extort you.

If something unexpected happens, your attorney can represent you in court or guide you through the best course of action.

2. Your Timeframe

Adoptions can take a long time to finalize.

A standard adoption could take as long as five years. Trying to go through the process on your own can take even longer. Any mistakes you make, legal complications that come up, or requirements you don’t meet will just delay the adoption.

If you want to adopt a child as quickly as possible, your best option is to hire an attorney. They will be able to help you file paperwork on time and may even be able to shorten waiting periods.

3. The Type of Adoption 

There are many different types of adoptions, including stepparent adoptions, international adoptions, foster care adoptions, etc. And again, some of these adoptions are easier than others.

If you want to adopt a child from another country, hiring an attorney is in your best interest. The same is true for children in the foster care system.

Even stepparents can benefit from working with attorneys. They’ll be able to help you understand and meet requirements specific to the type of adoption you’re interested in.

4. Your Budget 

Even though hiring an attorney is the best choice for most adoptions, you also have to consider your budget. Attorney’s cost money and you may not want to wait to adopt until you can hire one.

If you don’t have a lot of money, you can attempt to adopt a child on your own.

Depending on the type of adoption you’re interested in, you may want to wait to adopt until you have the money to hire legal help. You can also start the process on your own and hire an attorney when you find out you need help.

Either way, you should always do your best to hire an attorney for your adoption.

5. You Made a Mistake 

If you’ve already started the adoption process but made a mistake along the way, it’s not too late to hire an attorney. They can help figure out what you did wrong and show you how to correct the problem.

Some adoptions can have long wait periods.

Being stuck in the middle of one of these periods can make it feel like your adoption is at a standstill. This is also a good time to hire an attorney. They might be able to speed up the process and get the ball moving again.

Should You Hire an Adoption Attorney?

Adoption attorneys can bring the child you’ve been waiting for into your life as quickly and stress-free as possible. They’ll also be on your side if something goes wrong and you end up in court.

No matter what type of adoption you want, you should always hire an adoption attorney to guide you through the process.

Are you looking for an adoption attorney that can help you?

Make sure you click here to get in touch with us today!



[1] POV. (2010, January 17). Fact Sheet | Off and Running | PBS. Retrieved from

[2] How to Get Your House Ready for an Adoption Home Study. (2019, March 20). Retrieved from


surrogacy and surrogacy lawyers why you should hire one

Surrogacy Lawyer – Top 9 Reasons to Hire One

If you’re looking for reasons why you should hire a surrogacy lawyer, you’re in the right place. Choosing the route of surrogacy in order to bring a child into this world is both an exciting and daunting decision.

Yes, the anticipation of meeting your child is incredibly exciting, but complicated fertility and surrogacy laws can take away from these positive feelings.

This is why the expertise of a surrogacy lawyer makes all the difference along your journey to blissful surrogacy.

Learn more about how a surrogacy lawyer can help you along the way in this blog.

What is Surrogacy?

For couples who have struggled with the inability to naturally conceive or carry a child, surrogacy is a non-invasive answer to fulfilling a desire to become parents.

Basically, surrogacy is a procedure which is assisted by reproductive technology which supports in vitro fertilization (IVF).

This is otherwise known as the implantation of a mother’s egg and a father’s semen into a willing surrogate who carries a healthy child to term.

Here’s How a Surrogacy Lawyer Can Help

All the biological details aside, it’s recommended that a surrogacy agreement should not be entered into without consulting a surrogacy lawyer first.

Why? Let’s dive into the facts:

1. Honest Experience

From the get-go, a surrogacy lawyer will discuss exactly what to expect from the process with prospective parents. This includes an outline on the timeline of surrogacy, costs, and any legal issues or hurdles that could arise.

An experienced lawyer will be able to answer any questions you may have and put to bed your doubts and concerns, once and for all.

2. Objectively Assist in the Selection Process

When it comes to choosing the ideal surrogate mother to bear your child, it may be difficult for prospective parents to make a clear-headed, objective decision.

This is totally understandable- there is so much emotion to attached the process of bringing a child into the world. This is where a surrogacy lawyer can help parents see the facts and make the right decision on a surrogate.

3. Help to Minimize Risk and Liability

Surrogacy is a complicated process, fraught with reams of paperwork that may be difficult to understand or decipher. As a prospective parent, you can expect to sign multiple contracts at once, so this is where a surrogacy lawyer can help simplify the process.

During this process, a lawyer can help to minimize risk and liability by helping you to understand what you’re signing, before committing to a contract.

4. Assist in Establishing Parental Rights

This is one of the most important areas of the surrogacy process- establishing your rights as the parents of your baby.

In order to do so, a legal document must be drawn up and signed, or a court order must be obtained by the legal parents. Laws for each state tend to vary, so this is where a surrogacy lawyer can help you streamline this process.

Additionally, working with the expertise of an experienced law firm helps parents to minimize legal risk before even matching with a surrogate. In other words, you’ll be armed with a legal ”plan” before entering into surrogacy.

5. Help to Understate Certain State Laws

Across the United States, surrogacy laws tend to change from one state to another. In some cases, these laws may even change according to your county.

All surrogacy lawyers should be attuned to all current laws pertaining to your state or county and able to assist in discerning these laws.

This also helps when your surrogate is from another state, and the law varies from yours to theirs. In this case, you may need separate representation. But a surrogacy lawyer well-versed in the law across numerous states can help avoid this.

6. Assist in Monetary Discussions and Agreements

The topic of money when it comes to surrogacy is often a very sensitive and highly-contended subject. A lawyer acts as the ”middle man” in this situation and takes over discussions and agreements about money with your surrogate.

Bear in mind that a lawyer enters these discussions with an objective frame-of-mind, and will be able to come to an agreement without emotion. They are also far less likely to feel pressured into agreeing on certain sums of money if they aren’t appropriate!

Basically, they will ensure that you are not paying a surrogate an inordinate amount, but only what is fair according to local standards.

7. Establish Degree of Contact and Relationship Management

Your surrogacy lawyer will be there to establish how much or how little you wish to be in contact with your surrogate. If you do not wish to communicate directly with your surrogate at all, your lawyer acts as a point-of-contact.

Along with this, a lawyer will help with relationship management throughout the course of your surrogacy journey. Should you have any issues, concerns or questions, a lawyer can provide the peace-of-mind you need.

8. Assist in Dispute Resolution

Disputes, disagreements, and quarrels may arise during your surrogacy journey. For example, you may not agree with your surrogate’s way of life, actions, or diet while they’re carrying your child.

This is where a surrogacy lawyer steps in and helps to resolve any disagreements, a breach of contract or settle your concerns.

9. Assist in Drafting of Surrogate Contracts

Finally, a lawyer will be there from the beginning to draft all enforceable surrogacy contracts. These contracts are extremely important as they address important issues which may arise before, during, or after pregnancy.

It’s not always possible to foresee these issues as prospective parents without the experience or foresight of a professional. This is why they are there to help!

Find Your Family Attorney With Us

Looking for the perfect surrogacy lawyer to assist in your family planning journey? Family Attorneys Near Me is your go-to for an assortment of listings of the best this country has to offer!

Have a query about our listed attorneys? Get in touch with us today…


[1] In vitro fertilization (IVF). (2018, March 22). Retrieved from

[2] Surrogacy in the United States. (2016, February 8). Retrieved from