One of the most common adoption procedures in the state of Washington is adopting a stepchild. Although it is a relatively simple process, as long as both of the biological parents are on board with the adoption, the process can take a few months to complete.
Obtain consent from the biological parent. This step typically only applies to the parent that you are not married to; i.e., if you are married to the child’s father, you will need to obtain consent from the child’s mother. The biological parent will need to provide you with the written adoption consent. In most cases, ask the parent to sign this adoption consent form in front of a notary.
Acquire consent to adoption from a child over 14 years of age. According to the state of Washington, psychologically capable children who have reached this age must agree to the adoption. A mental handicap in the child may waive this right.
Contact your local Superior Court and request adoption petition paperwork. Although some states provide these documents online, the state of Washington only provides hard copies. The court clerk will send you the package through the mail.
Complete the adoption petition forms. Make sure to read everything thoroughly and fill the paperwork out honestly. This information will go before a judge, and anything false could cause you legal problems and hinder the adoption of your stepchild.
Compile all of the requested documents. This will likely include the necessary adoption consent forms and a marriage certificate for you and your spouse.
Make copies of all of the paperwork and submit the original documents. Keep the copies for your records, especially the consent forms.
Send the documents via certified mail. This will provide you proof that you sent in the documents.
Wait for your court date. The Superior Court will assign your family a date to appear before a judge after the court has obtained all of your paperwork. The amount of time this process takes depends entirely on how busy the court is; the process could take several weeks or months.
Appear in court. So long as all parties approve the adoption of your stepchild, the judge will likely provide you with an adoption decree.
If you believe that any part of the adoption may be contested, yet it is still in the best interest of the child, you may want to hire a lawyer to handle the paperwork and appear with you before the judge.
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images