All forms mentioned in the instructions below are available in the Family Law/Probate/Adoptions Division of the Clerk’s office. The form is also available online through the Judicial Council of California. To obtain a free copy online, visit the Judicial Council’s website at http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm and select “Adoption” from the drop-down menu.
Complete form adopt-200
If you are filing a stepparent adoption or an adoption request for the child of a domestic partner, you must complete an Adoption Request (form ADOPT-200).
Read the adopt-50
Please download the form entitled How to Adopt a Child in California (form ADOPT-50) for detailed information on the different types of adoption in California.
File the adopt-200
Once the Adoption Request form has been completed, it must be filed in the Family Law/Probate/Adoptions Division of the Clerk’s office. The filing fee for an adoption is $20.00 per child.
Receive and read the stepparent adoption packet
At that time, you will receive a Stepparent Adoption Packet. The Stepparent Adoption Packet provides you with instructions, information and the forms you will need to complete your stepparent/ domestic partner adoption.
Call the court investigator’s office
After reviewing the entire Stepparent Adoption Packet, you should contact the Court Investigator’s Office at (707) 207-7390. Staff in the Court Investigator’s Office will collect all of the appropriate documents and information needed from you to conduct their investigation and prepare a report.
Terminating The Natural Parent’s Rights
If a natural parent of the child refuses to sign a consent to the adoption or cannot be located or cannot be identified, a petition to terminate the natural parent’s rights must be filed. The fee for the investigation into the petition to terminate parental rights is $200.00 for uncontested cases and $400.00 for contested cases. This amount is due prior to the commencement of the investigation. At the time the fees are paid, a hearing will be scheduled on the issue of termination of parental rights.
The Court Investigator will conduct an investigation and prepare a report recommending whether or not the natural parent’s rights should be terminated. If the judge determines that the natural parent’s rights will not be terminated, your adoption petition should be dismissed. If the judge rules that the natural parent’s rights are terminated, the matter will be re-referred to the Court Investigators for a full home study.
Home Study Evaluation
The fee for the Court Investigator’s home study/report is $500.00 for uncontested and $600.00 for contested. The Court Investigators will not begin their home study until the fees are paid in full. After the fees have been paid and the home study evaluation is complete, contact the clerk’s office to arrange for a court date for the adoption. At the hearing, the judge will either grant or deny the adoption request.
The Court requires that the petitioner and child to be adopted to attend the hearing. Please provide the following forms at the hearing (available in the Family Law/Probate/Adoptions Division of the Clerk’s office, or online at http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm and select “Adoption” from the drop-down menu):
An Adoption Agreement (form ADOPT-210), to be signed in the presence of the judge. If the child is 12 years or older, the child must also sign the agreement in the judge’s presence.
An Adoption Order (form ADOPT-215) with the name the child will now use inserted where indicated.
The signing of the order is usually a memorable occasion for the participants. Most Judges will not object if you wish to take photographs. Ask permission in advance.
Issuing A New Birth Certificate
Once the adoption has been approved and the Adoption Order has been signed, the Clerk of the Court shall prepare and submit a Court Report of Adoption to the Office of the State Registrar. The State Registrar will mail a certified copy of the new birth certificate to the petitioner.
For further information concerning adoption proceedings, please contact an attorney.