What to expect during a stepparent adoption investigation

As part of the stepparent adoption process, the court requires an investigation to ensure the adoption is in the best interest of the child or youth.

The investigation process typically just involves a short interview with the you as the proposed adoptive parent and with the parent retaining custody.  Sometimes the investigator will talk with the child or youth, depending on their age.

The court appoints an investigator, unless you have chosen to hire your own investigator when you filled out your adoption request.

What’s involved in a stepparent adoption investigation?

A short interview with the proposed stepparent

The interview could cover the following topics:

  • How long you have known the child
  • How long you have lived together
  • What you do for a living
  • If you understand the legal implications of the parent/child relationship once the adoption is finalized, including parental rights and responsibilities
  • Your background (prior marriages, other children)

A short interview with the parent retaining custody and the child to be adopted

The interview could cover the following topics:

  • If both the parent and the child are in agreement with the adoption
  • If each understands (at an age-appropriate level for the child) what it means to be adopted and the rights and responsibilities once the parent/child relationship is legally finalized
  • The parent's background (prior marriages, other children)
  • Information about the other parent, including whether the other parent is in agreement
  • Any and all possible alleged or presumed parents and any requests to terminate an alleged father’s parental rights.

The investigation will also include a criminal background check for the proposed stepparent and a discussion of any areas of concern. It does not require a full “home study” but the investigator may visit the house where the child lives.

What happens after the investigation?

The investigator will file a report with the court, typically before the hearing date and send a copy to the proposed stepparent.

The judge will read and review the report. If the report’s recommendation is that the stepparent adoption proceed and the judge agrees with the recommendation, the adoption will be granted at the final adoption hearing.

Stepparent adoption

What's next?

Once the investigation is complete, you will prepare for your stepparent adoption hearing.

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