I was told by a paralegal we can technically file for stepparent adoption at any time, we have a wedding date set for later this year, but that a judge will like it better if it's legal already. It's uncontested and we have a good 'case'. Are we able to file now, even if our wedding isn't until fall? What if we have the papers drawn up now, we all sign it now, but then wait to send it to the courts until after we're married - could that work? If we try it now and they tell us no will we have to start from scratch later? (With both cost and paperwork?) Thank you for your help.
Family Law Attorney
Step-parent adoptions involve numerous complex legal issues. I strongly suggest that you obtain an experienced family law attorney to assist you with your case. That being said, before a step-parent adoption can go through, the biological father's legal relationship with the child must be terminated, either via relinquishment or an involuntary termination. You indicated that this adoption is "uncontested" which leads me to believe that the birth father is willing to relinquish his parental rights to the child. You do not need to be married to the prospective adoptive parent in order for the court to grant the petition for adoption. Good luck!
Land Use / Zoning Attorney
It sounds like you may have been led to believe that you can handle the step-parent adoption on your own. I would strongly advise against this as the Washington statues that control termination of the biological parent's rights and subsequent adoption of the child, lay out very specific requirements which you will need to comply with regardless of whether this is a contested or uncontested adoption. The court rules in your area may set out additional requirements. Generally, adoptions are not prohitively expensive and you should locate an attorney in your area who offers adoption services at a reasonable rare. Good luck!
This answer is provided as a mere courtesy and is not intended to provide legal advise but rather a general roadmap which may assist in deterring whether or not to seek legal advise from a law office in your locale.. In some cases the answers may not be jurisdiction specific. In no event, is an attorney-client relationship formed by providing answers to posted questions.