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Procedure for step parent adoption in WA state

Mount Vernon, WA |

procedure for step parent adaption under WA stae law when biological father consents to giving up his rights?

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Attorney answers 2


You need a lawyer who knows adoption (many don't realize how complicated it can get).

If you go to this site:

you'll find WA adoption law specialists who know how to: A) do what you need to do, and B) render a bill! (Of course, you get what you pay for, etc.)

Hope that helps!



No you don't need an attorney. We are in Yakima county and completed a step-parent adoption (of two daughters) ourselves. Here was what we did: 1) Went to the website: We filled out the document on-line and paid $148.50. We were contacted via email by them, and set up an appointment the following week to meet the notary in Seattle, who would notarize the documents, so we could file them in court. We had the natural father meet us there, and he signed right there and the notary took care of his paperwork too. 2) We contacted a social worker to set up the home study. You only need one home study, and it must be conducted before the step-parent adoption. The judge will need the social worker's report before he will approve the adoption. Our Social Worker charged us $500 for the home study. Note: Some social workers we contacted wanted $800 for this service. Also, it's important to meet with your potential social worker, to make sure you like them. We met with one, and I had a very bad feeling about her, so we didn't use her. Our Social Worker provided us a list of questions she would be asking, to prepare us and our daughters. 3) After the Social Worker meeting, we went to Yakima court, to the court clerk's office. We told the woman we were there to file a step-parent adoption ourselves. She asked us if we wanted a proxy (so that we wouldn't have to come to court at all!). We said yes! I think it cost us an extra $35. So our total fee was a couple of hundred dollars. This proxy is a very important thing to do. It means that when the court clerk receives the Social Worker's report, that the clerk will walk it over to the judge (usually the same day), and the judge signs the document. Our final adoption was signed ONE DAY after the clerk received the Social Worker's report, and when it was done, the clerk called us and told us to come in to pick up the paperwork. 4) Pick up the paperwork from the court clerk. We had five certified copies made (by the clerk) of the final adoption papers. We did this because in 30 days, those legal documents will be sealed forever. Also, we had to write checks to have new birth certificates made for our two girls. The clerk takes these checks, and mails them to the state where the girls were born themselves. (I think the cost was $22 for each daughter.) The clerk will hold the birth certificate forms for 30 days, then mail them to the state where they were born. Why? Because after the adoption is final, they must wait 30 days for someone to contest the adoption. After 30 days passes, the adoption is forevermore legal. So it cost us about $700 total for the step-parent adoption of our two daughters. Compared to the $6,000 we were quoted by several lawyers, this was remarkable. The process was EASY! I hope this helps any of you who are considering this option!


Here is the basic procedure for stepparent adoption in Washington. Just to keep this answer easy to read, I am going to assume that the child is a boy.

The stepfather files a petition to adopt the stepson. The mother will need to join in the petition with the stepfather and if the child is over 14 years old, he will need to consent to being adopted by his stepfather.

The rights of the biological father need to be dealt with. The fact that he is willing to consent is good news and should help simplify the process. The lawyer for the stepfather can help obtain the biological father's consent, on a consent form that meets the requirements of the law.

A report needs to be done by an adoption social worker, who will tell the court whether or not the proposed step-parent adoption is in the child's best interests.

After all of the necessary documents are filed, a date for a court hearing is scheduled. If the court approves, the judge signs a Decree of Adoption that makes the stepfather the legal father of the stepson.

After the Decree of Adoption is issued, forms can be completed and submitted to the Vital Records office in the state where the child was born. The Vital Records office will then re-issue the child's birth certificate to remove the biological father's name (if it was on there in the first place) and to show the stepfather (adoptive father) as the child's father.

I echo Mr. Bull's advice. Visit the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys' website:

to find an experienced, well-respected adoption attorney in your area.

Best wishes!

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