Chapter 5. Stepparent Adoptions of California Family Law Code >> Division 13. >> Part 2. >> Chapter 5.
(a) A stepparent desiring to adopt a child of the stepparent'
s spouse may for that purpose file a petition in the county in which
the petitioner resides.
(b) A domestic partner, as defined in Section 297, desiring to
adopt a child of his or her domestic partner may for that purpose
file a petition in the county in which the petitioner resides.
(c) The caption of the adoption petition shall contain the names
of the petitioners, but not the child's name. The petition shall
state the child's sex and date of birth and the name the child had
(d) If the child is the subject of a guardianship petition, the
adoption petition shall so state and shall include the caption and
docket number or have attached a copy of the letters of the
guardianship or temporary guardianship. The petitioners shall notify
the court of any petition for guardianship or temporary guardianship
filed after the adoption petition. The guardianship proceeding shall
be consolidated with the adoption proceeding.
(e) The order of adoption shall contain the child's adopted name,
but not the name the child had before adoption.
(f) If the petitioner has entered into a postadoption contact
agreement with the birth parent as set forth in Section 8616.5, the
agreement, signed by the participating parties, shall be attached to
and filed with the petition for adoption.
(g) For the purposes of this chapter, stepparent adoption includes
adoption by a domestic partner, as defined in Section 297.
(a) Stepparent adoptions where one of the spouses or
partners gave birth to the child during the marriage or domestic
partnership, including a registered domestic partnership or civil
union from another jurisdiction, shall follow the procedure provided
by this section. Unless otherwise provided in this section, the
procedures for stepparent adoptions apply.
(b) The following are not required in stepparent adoptions under
this section unless otherwise ordered by the court for good cause:
(1) A home investigation pursuant to Section 9001 or a home study.
(2) Costs incurred pursuant to Section 9002.
(3) A hearing pursuant to Section 9007.
(c) For stepparent adoptions filed under this section, the
following shall be filed with the petition for adoption:
(1) A copy of the parties' marriage certificate, registered
domestic partner certificate, or civil union from another
(2) A copy of the child's birth certificate.
(3) Declarations by the parent who gave birth and the spouse or
partner who is adopting explaining the circumstances of the child's
conception in detail sufficient to identify whether there may be
other persons with a claim to parentage of the child who is required
to be provided notice of, or who must consent to, the adoption.
(d) The court may order a hearing to ascertain whether there are
additional persons who must be provided notice of, or who must
consent to, the adoption if it appears from the face of the pleadings
and the evidence that proper notice or consent have not been
(e) The court shall grant the stepparent adoption under this
section upon finding both of the following:
(1) That the parent who gave birth and the spouse or partner who
is adopting were married or in a domestic partnership, including a
registered domestic partnership or civil union from another
jurisdiction, at the time of the child's birth.
(2) Any other person with a claim to parentage of the child who is
required to be provided notice of, or who must consent to, the
adoption has been noticed or provided consent to the adoption.
(a) Except as provided in Section 9000.5, the probation
officer, qualified court investigator, licensed clinical social
worker, licensed marriage family therapist, private licensed adoption
agency, or, at the option of the board of supervisors, the county
welfare department in the county in which the adoption proceeding is
pending shall make an investigation of each case of stepparent
adoption. The court may not make an order of adoption until after the
probation officer, qualified court investigator, licensed clinical
social worker, licensed marriage family therapist, private licensed
adoption agency, or county welfare department has filed its report
and recommendation and they have been considered by the court.
(b) If a private licensed adoption agency conducts the
investigation, it shall assign the investigation to a licensed
clinical social worker or licensed marriage and family therapist
associated with the agency. Any grievance regarding the investigation
shall be directed to the licensing authority of the clinical social
worker or marriage and family therapist, as applicable.
(c) Unless ordered by the court, no home study may be required of
the petitioner's home in a stepparent adoption. The agency conducting
the investigation or any interested person may request the court to
order a home study or the court may order a home study on its own
(d) "Home study" as used in this section means a physical
investigation of the premises where the child is residing.
(e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require the
State Department of Social Services to issue regulations for
Except as provided in Section 9000.5, in a stepparent
adoption, the prospective adoptive parent is liable for all
reasonable costs incurred in connection with the stepparent adoption,
including, but not limited to, costs incurred for the investigation
required by Section 9001, up to a maximum of seven hundred dollars
($700). The court, probation officer, qualified court investigator,
or county welfare department may defer, waive, or reduce the fee if
its payment would cause economic hardship to the prospective adoptive
parent detrimental to the welfare of the adopted child.
(a) In a stepparent adoption, the consent of either or both
birth parents shall be signed in the presence of a notary public,
court clerk, probation officer, qualified court investigator,
authorized representative of a licensed adoption agency, or county
welfare department staff member of any county of this state. The
petitioner, petitioner's counsel, or person before whom the consent
is signed shall immediately file the consent with the clerk of the
court where the adoption request is filed. If the request has not
been filed at the time the consent has been signed, the consent shall
be filed simultaneously with the adoption request. Upon filing of
the adoption request, the clerk shall immediately notify the
probation officer or, at the option of the board of supervisors, the
county welfare department of that county.
(b) If the birth parent of a child to be adopted is outside this
state at the time of signing the consent, the consent may be signed
before an authorized representative of an adoption agency licensed in
the state or country where the consent is being signed, a notary, or
other person authorized to perform notarial acts.
(c) The consent, when reciting that the person giving it is
entitled to sole custody of the child and when acknowledged before
any authorized witness specified in subdivision (a), is prima facie
evidence of the right of the person signing the consent to the sole
custody of the child and that person's sole right to consent.
(d) A birth parent who is a minor has the right to sign a consent
for the adoption of the birth parent's child and the consent is not
subject to revocation by reason of the minority.
In a stepparent adoption, the form prescribed by the
department for the consent of the birth parent shall contain
substantially the following notice:
"Notice to the parent who gives the child for adoption: If you and
your child lived together at any time as parent and child, the
adoption of your child through a stepparent adoption does not affect
the child's right to inherit your property or the property of other
(a) Consent of the birth parent to the adoption of the child
through a stepparent adoption may not be withdrawn except with court
approval. Request for that approval may be made by motion, or a birth
parent seeking to withdraw consent may file with the clerk of the
court where the adoption petition is pending, a petition for approval
of withdrawal of consent, without the necessity of paying a fee for
filing the petition. The petition or motion shall be in writing, and
shall set forth the reasons for withdrawal of consent, but otherwise
may be in any form.
(b) The court clerk shall set the matter for hearing and shall
give notice thereof to the probation officer, qualified court
investigator, or county welfare department, to the prospective
adoptive parent, and to the birth parent or parents by certified
mail, return receipt requested, to the address of each as shown in
the proceeding, at least 10 days before the time set for hearing.
(c) The probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county
welfare department shall, before the hearing of the motion or
petition for withdrawal, file a full report with the court and shall
appear at the hearing to represent the interests of the child.
(d) At the hearing, the parties may appear in person or with
counsel. The hearing shall be held in chambers, but the court
reporter shall report the proceedings and, on court order, the fee
therefor shall be paid from the county treasury. If the court finds
that withdrawal of the consent to adoption is reasonable in view of
all the circumstances and that withdrawal of the consent is in the
child's best interest, the court shall approve the withdrawal of the
consent. Otherwise the court shall withhold its approval.
Consideration of the child's best interest shall include, but is not
limited to, an assessment of the child's age, the extent of bonding
with the prospective adoptive parent, the extent of bonding or the
potential to bond with the birth parent, and the ability of the birth
parent to provide adequate and proper care and guidance to the
child. If the court approves the withdrawal of consent, the adoption
proceeding shall be dismissed.
(e) A court order granting or withholding approval of a withdrawal
of consent to an adoption may be appealed in the same manner as an
order of the juvenile court declaring a person to be a ward of the
(a) If the petitioner moves to withdraw the adoption petition
or to dismiss the proceeding, the court clerk shall immediately
notify the probation officer, qualified court investigator, or county
welfare department of the action, unless a home investigation was
not required pursuant to Section 9000.5.
(b) If a birth parent has refused to give the required consent,
the adoption petition shall be dismissed.
Except as provided in Section 9000.5, the prospective
adoptive parent and the child proposed to be adopted shall appear
before the court pursuant to Sections 8612, 8613, and 8613.5.