Adoption – adoption_famlaw_selfhelp –

In a stepparent or domestic partner adoption, the court will end the parental rights of your childs other birth parent. Many times the childs other birth parent agrees (consents) to the adoption. In some cases, the court will end the other birth parents rights anyway even when he or she does not agree. This is very serious, so the court does not want to do it unless the other birth parent knows about the adoption and has a chance to go to court and tell his or her side to the judge. The judge will then decide if the court will end the parental rights or not. Think about what it would be like if the situation was reversed. You would not want your childs other parent and his or her new spouse to end your rights as a parent without you knowing about it.

So an important step in your adoption case is to:

You have to take these steps even if you do not know who the other parent is or your name is the only name on your childs birth certificate. If you do not know who or where the other parent is, you still have to at least try everything possible to find the other parent. Talk to a lawyer or the court clerk to find out what the judge will want you to do to find the other parent. Click for some tips of what you can try to find the other parent. If you do everything the judge asks and still cannot find the other parent, the judge usually will end the rights of the other parent.

If your childs other birth parent is deceased, let the court know in your adoption request and at your court hearing. If possible, provide some type of proof, like a certified copy of a death certificate.

If your childs other birth parent does not admit that he or she is your childs biological parent, your case may get complicated so talk to a lawyer.

Click for help finding a lawyer.

Finding your childs other birth parent

Here are some things you can try:

Send a letter, certified with return receipt requested, addressed to the other birth parent at his or her last known address.

If you know for sure that the other parent left that last known address, send a letter to that address and write on the envelope: Do not forward. Address correction requested. If the other parent left a forwarding address, the post office will return the letter to you with the new address.

Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if they will give you any information. It is very possible that the DMV will not give you information, so just make a note of when you called and what they told you.

Contact the county recorder's office in any county the other parent has lived in to see if you can find any information.

Check the voter registration records in the county where the other parent lives or has lived.

Pay a private investigator or an Internet search service.

Make sure you keep track of the dates, times, and results of all of your efforts to find the other parent. You will have to give the court all these details in writing to get the courts permission to let you move ahead with your case even if you cannot find the other parent.

If, after trying everything, you still cannot find the other birth parent, you will have to explain to the judge everything you tried to find the other parent, with the dates you tried and the results. If the judge agrees that you have tried everything possible, the judge may let you go ahead with the adoption without letting the other birth parent know.

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Adoption - adoption_famlaw_selfhelp -

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