Code Section Group

Family Code - FAM

DIVISION 13. ADOPTION [8500 - 9340]

  ( Division 13 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

PART 2. ADOPTION OF UNMARRIED MINORS [8600 - 9213]

  ( Part 2 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

CHAPTER 5. Stepparent Adoptions [9000 - 9007]
  ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1992, Ch. 162, Sec. 10. )

9000.
  

(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 before adoption.

(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.

(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 858, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2005.)

9000.5.
  

(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 jurisdiction.

(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 provided.

(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.

(Added by Stats. 2014, Ch. 636, Sec. 3. (AB 2344) Effective January 1, 2015.)

9001.
  

(a) Except as provided in Section 9000.5, before granting or denying a stepparent adoption request, the court shall review and consider a written investigative report. The report in a stepparent adoption case shall not require a home study unless so ordered by the court upon request of an investigator or interested person, or on the court’s own motion. “Home study” as used in this section means a physical investigation of the premises where the child is residing.

(b) At the time of filing the adoption request, the petitioner shall inform the court in writing if the petitioner is electing to have the investigation and written report completed by a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed professional clinical counselor, or a private licensed adoption agency, in which cases the petitioner shall not be required to pay an investigation fee pursuant to Section 9002 at the time of filing, but shall pay these fees directly to the investigator. Absent that notification, the court may, at the time of filing, collect an investigation fee pursuant to Section 9002, and may assign one of the following to complete the investigation: a probation officer, a qualified court investigator, or the county welfare department, if so authorized by the board of supervisors of the county where the action is pending.

(c) If a private licensed adoption agency conducts the investigation, it shall assign the investigation to a licensed clinical social worker, licensed professional clinical counselor, or licensed marriage and family therapist associated with the agency. A grievance regarding the investigation shall be directed to the licensing authority of the clinical social worker, licensed professional clinical counselor, or marriage and family therapist, as applicable.

(d) This section does not require the State Department of Social Services to issue regulations for stepparent adoptions.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 389, Sec. 17. (AB 2296) Effective January 1, 2019.)

9002.
  

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.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 636, Sec. 5. (AB 2344) Effective January 1, 2015.)

9003.
  

(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.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 462, Sec. 8. (AB 687) Effective January 1, 2012.)

9004.
  

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 blood relatives.”

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 893, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2002.)

9005.
  

(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 juvenile court.

(Amended by Stats. 2001, Ch. 893, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2002.)

9006.
  

(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.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 636, Sec. 6. (AB 2344) Effective January 1, 2015.)

9007.
  

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.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 636, Sec. 7. (AB 2344) Effective January 1, 2015.)

FAMFamily Code - FAM