I want to adopt my girlfriends daughter, how can I do that?

Asked almost 4 years ago - El Cajon, CA

My girlfriend has a daughter that is almost 4 years old. I've had her since she was 2.She finally got full legal and physical custody of her and the father hasn't been around for about 3 years. I'm the only dad she has ever known, now we have a son together and she is getting older and soon she will figure out the last name issue. I would love to adopt her and make her my daughter legally. Is it possible to adopt her with out getting married to my girlfriend? I don't want to marry her because of the adoption issue I want to marry her when we have money for a wedding, but I love this little girl so much I just want her to know me as daddy till she has to know the truth. Is it possible to adopt her and what do I need to do?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Jonathan Beau Dial

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . While technically you can adopt your girlfriend's daughter without being married, in order to do so your girlfriend would have to give up all parental rights to her daughter. As such, if you and your girlfriend ever split up, then you would receive full custody of the daughter and your girlfriend would be left out to dry.

    Additionally, adoption can be somewhat costly...especially if the legal father wants to throw a wrench in the process. My suggestion to you would be to first marry your girlfriend, then focus on the adoption.

    Finally, be honest with your daughter. Just because you don't have the same last name doesn't mean that you love her less, or that she isn't your "daughter." There are numerous books and reference material available to help parents explain situations in which you are in. It is better that she knows the truth now, rather than waiting.

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