Stepparent adoption to confirm parentage

Married parents whose children were conceived through assisted reproduction or born through a gestational surrogacy process may be able to use a simplified adoption process to protect the legal parental rights of the parent or parents who did not give birth to the child.


This is a simplified adoption process called stepparent adoption to confirm parentage. Unlike other adoption cases, there's generally no investigation or court hearing.

Check if this is the right process for you

You can use this process if:

  • You and the other parent were married or domestic partners at the time the child was born
  • You are still married or domestic partners
  • You or your spouse gave birth to the child conceived through reproductive assistance or you used a gestational surrogacy process

In some cases, you may have other options to establish the non-birth parent's legal parent-child relationship. Talk to a lawyer if you're not sure what's the best in your situation.

How to do a stepparent adoption to confirm parentage

  • Fill out forms

    • Adoption Request (form ADOPT-200)
    • Adoption Agreement (form ADOPT-210) (You must sign this form either when you file it in front of the court clerk or in front of a notary public. If the child you're adopting is 12 or older, they must sign the form as well)
    • Adoption Order (form ADOPT-215)

    You also need to fill out these forms and attach them to the ADOPT-200

    To tell the court how you conceived your child (why you qualify for stepparent adoption), both parents need to complete either a: 

    • Declaration Confirming Parentage in Stepparent Adoption (form ADOPT-205)
    • For a child born outside California surrogacy process, you can use a Declaration Confirming Parentage in Stepparent Adoption: Gestational Surrogacy (form ADOPT-206) if the place where the child was born did not allow you both go on the child's birth certificate.

    You will also need to attach: 

    1. Indian Child Inquiry Attachment (form ICWA-010(A))
    2. Parental Notification of Indian Status (form ICWA-020)
  • Make copies

    Make at least two copies of the forms.

  • File your forms and pay fee

    Take your forms to the court clerk in the county where you live. 

    To file your forms with the court:

    • Give the original and the 2 copies to the court clerk  

    • Pay a $20 fee (unless you have a fee waiver)

    You can sign the ADOPT-210 form in front of the court clerk if you did not sign it in front of a notary public.

  • The judge reviews the request

    A judge will review your request. If all the paperwork is complete and you met the requirements, the judge will sign the Adoption Order. This means the adoption is complete.

    If the judge has a very good reason (called good cause), the judge may order a home investigation or home study and set a court date to make a decision after they get more information. If this happens, then it will take more time to finish the adoption.

The filed Adoption Order (form ADOPT-215) signed by the judge means the adoption is complete. 

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