Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Locating the child's biological parent for stepparent adoption

If a stepparent in California wishes to adopt his or her stepchild, the child's other biological parent must be notified, as the adoption will terminate his or her parental rights. This means that the child's other biological parent must be found and provide written consent for the child to be adopted, or the stepparent must obtain a court order, after showing a thorough and exhaustive search has been made and the biological parent cannot be found, that will end the child's other biological parent's parental rights.

There are numerous ways in which a parent or stepparent can try to locate the child's other biological parent for adoption purposes. For example, a letter can be sent to the biological parent's last known address. If a parent or stepparent knows that the biological parent no longer lives at that address, he or she can still send a letter to that address, but write on the envelope that they do not want the letter to be forwarded, but instead that they want the address requested so that the letter will be returned to them with the correct address.

If the biological parent's location is unknown, it may be possible to contact friends or relatives of the biological parent to see if they know where he or she is living. This could be done via a phone call or email. If the biological parent's city is known, calling the telephone directory in that city may be a way to locate the biological parent. Even something as simple as an Internet search can be a way to find information on where the biological parent is living.

If the biological parent pays child support, the Department of Child Support Services may have information on where the he or she is located. The county recorder's office and voter registration records may also provide useful information on the biological parent's whereabouts.

In the end, it is important for parents and stepparents to keep a record of all the efforts they made to locate the child's other biological parent. They can use this to prove to the judge that an exhaustive search has been made. If the judge agrees that all possible efforts have been made to locate the child's other biological parent, but the parent could not be located, then the judge may allow the adoption proceed. A family law attorney may be able to provide further information on stepparent adoption.

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