There are many requirements to adopting a child, yet adopting a stepchild and the financing involved can be a bit less complex. So, how much does it cost to adopt a stepchild in Washington?
The costs to adopt a stepchild in Washington average between $350 to $2,000 for an uncontested adoption depending on whether the family processes the required court documents themselves or hires an attorney. Hiring an attorney is not required to adopt a stepchild, yet is highly recommended.
It’s common to fall in love with our stepchildren as they become a part of our lives on every level.
There are many reasons why the opportunity to adopt a stepchild might present itself.
Both biological parents will be required to give their permission for the stepparent to adopt the child.
There are times, however, when a biological parent has not been present in the child’s life for quite some time.
In today’s American society, approximately 42% of adults participate in a stepparent role.
Courtesy of the Pew Research Center
Required permission from an inactive parent may be waived if the inactive parent has been absent for one year or more. These requirements differ by state.
Let’s take a look at the costs to adopt a stepchild in detail so you can be as prepared as possible when you begin your adoption journey.
How Much Does it Cost to Adopt a Stepchild in Washington?
We have all heard stories of adoptions costing thousands of dollars, but what about adopting a stepchild? How much does it cost to adopt a stepchild in Washington?
Adopting a stepchild costs between $350 to $2,000 on average depending on the circumstances of the adoption. Processing court forms without an attorney may cost as little as the required filing fees with the courthouse, or up to thousands of dollars for a contested adoption.
Uncontested stepchild adoption is what we all hope for, as contested adoptions can likely involve the expense of a lawyer.
Providing you meet all of the requirements to adopt your stepchild, your adoption could cost you as little as the mere filing fees at the courthouse.
Related Article: Has it ever crossed your mind there may be things that might disqualify you from adopting a child? Take a look at our article What Will Disqualify You from Adopting a Child? A Must Read to make sure you won’t run into any obstacles.
All you have to do is simply go to your local courthouse and ask for the forms needed to adopt your stepchild.
When you are ready to file your completed court forms, you will likely be required to pay a relatively small filing fee. Then you wait for your case to be put on the docket.
You will be notified by the courts when a court date has been set, where both biological parents will have an opportunity to approve or contest the adoption.
For those dealing with a biological parent who would likely contest the adoption, it is strongly advised to retain a lawyer.
Although a lawyer is not required in a contested adoption, you will want an advocate on your side to help you win your case.
There are online services that charge about $350 for an adoption packet that you may purchase to adopt your stepchild.
These services make it convenient; just know that you can save money by going to the courthouse and asking for those forms yourself most times for free.
For the do-it-yourselfers, you know you will save money by filing your adoption papers on your own. You are likely asking, how do I file adoption papers myself?
To file adoption papers yourself, visit your local courthouse and request adoption court forms. Fill out the required documents, and then return these court documents to the courthouse. You will receive a notification when your case is ready to be presented to a judge.
You have two options when wanting to file the adoption papers yourself. You can Google online services that will charge you approximately $350 for a packet of adoption court forms specific to the state of Washington.
Or, you can take a trip to your local courthouse and request these very same documents at little to no cost.
Adoption Lawyers in Washington: Do You Need an Adoption Attorney? is an article we wrote specifically for those on the fence about hiring a lawyer.
Services that provide adoption documents for a charge do come in handy if you would rather save yourself the hassle of driving to your local courthouse.
The cost of convenience has a value in itself. Just know that with a little effort and gas, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars.
Filing adoption court forms yourself is the way to go providing you are not dealing with a contested adoption.
Stepparent Adoption Forms in Washington
If you are planning on adopting your stepchild and doing it yourself without an attorney, you will naturally want to obtain stepparent adoption forms.
Two Things to Know About Stepparent Adoption Forms in Washington
1. Stepparent adoption forms are free.
2. You do not need to pay for adoption forms.
Do not be fooled into thinking that you have to pay for a packet of adoption forms from a service selling adoption forms tailored to each state.
These services, although likely upstanding and legit, are running a business to naturally make a profit.
Therefore, if you do not mind dropping $350 for the convenience of having a packet of court forms mailed to you, then by all means go for it. There is certainly something to be said for convenience.
However, for the cost of a little gas and some time out of your day, simply driving to your local courthouse and requesting stepparent adoption forms for little to no money is all that is required.
For more information about adopting your stepchild, visit How to Adopt Your Stepchild in Washington 101: Complete Guide.
When it comes time to return those completed court forms to the courthouse, you will likely be charged a filing fee. As one may expect, this charge is unavoidable.
Stepparent Adoption Without Consent
Anyone wanting to adopt their stepchild hopes for a smooth process without drama and hiccups. We all wish to avoid a stepparent adoption without consent.
A stepparent adoption without consent will likely include many court hearings and generally involve attorney representation. The plaintiff and defendant will both state their case, and a judge will ultimately rule on what is in the best interest of the child.
There are many reasons why adoption is contested. Perhaps a biological parent initially agrees with the adoption and then ends up changing their mind.
There are times when a biological father was not told of the pregnancy, then later finds out about it during an adoption hearing and wants to be a part of the child’s life.
If adoption is being contested, both parties will go before a judge in a courthouse to share their side of the issue to get to a resolution. The adoption cannot be finalized until the contested adoption is resolved.
The cost to adopt a stepchild when the adoption is being contested is up in the air. Attorneys, although not required, are highly recommended to help you win your case.
As one would expect, the bottom line is what is in the best interest of the child.
Do You Have to Be Married to Adopt a Stepchild in Washington?
Even though stepparent adoption is very different than other types of adoption, there are still requirements that must be met. Do you have to be married to adopt a stepchild in Washington?
Only married stepparents may adopt a child in the state of Washington. Regardless of how involved a girlfriend or boyfriend has been in the child’s life, they may not proceed with a stepparent adoption if they are not married to the biological parent.
Perhaps the courts view marriage as a sign of commitment rather than strictly an old-fashioned value.
Important to remember is that down the road if the marriage between the biological parent and the stepparent dissolves, the adoption between the stepparent and child will remain.
The stepparent will need to be prepared for a lifelong commitment with their stepchild regardless of whether the marriage lasts or not. Adopting a stepchild is not something you can undo just because a marriage didn’t work out.