What We Do
We investigate each stepparent petition filed in Los Angeles County and make a recommendation to the Court. The fee for the study is $700. The process involves interviews with the stepparent and the custodial parent at the DCFS office, obtaining the consent of the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent, if he or she wishes to sign. If the non-custodial parent consent is not obtained, legal action is required to terminate the rights of a birth or legal parent who is not willing to consent, or whose whereabouts is unknown. Notification of the need for any legal action occurs after the social worker interviews the family and no consent is obtained. Families usually hire an attorney or a paralegal to assist them with the legal action and other court-related matters. We cannot assist with the parental termination or other legal actions that may become necessary.
The stepparent adoption workers also handles surrogate adoption cases, which are more complicated and require more attention to make sure that rights of all the parties involved are protected. The worker must extend due process to all parties involved and report to the court. Either the attorney of record or the family petitioning for the stepparent adoption must complete a legal search that can be evaluated by the court. After gathering together all the facts pertinent to the case, including a criminal records check, the worker then files a report with a recommendation to the court.