Filing your Washington stepparent adoption doesn’t have to be difficult.
Prior to filing your Petition for adoption, you must have been a bona fide resident of Washington for six months prior to the filing of the petition, which residency must be stated in the complaint and proved at the final hearing (Drivers License, etc.). If both parties currently reside in the state, then there is no time period required.
An adoption is filed in the State and County where you presently reside. Washington only requires that you be currently residing in the State of Washington in order to be eligible to file. There is no time restriction on filing in Washington. As soon as you begin living in the state, you are legal to file for the Washington stepparent adoption. The absent natural parent can waive that jurisdiction in writing.
You should file the adoption in the county your spouse lives in, or in the county that you both lived in when you separated, or in your county if your spouse lives out of state. You or your spouse must have a Washington address in the county of filing. Washington civilian residents living overseas may file in Washington if they have maintained their residency in Washington.
The grounds which typically justify the termination of parental rights in a stepparent adoption involve abandonment, failure to support the child, imprisonment, certain abuse, and other grounds. The grounds for the termination of parental rights are different for each state, but all states accept the grounds of abandonment and lack of support, and some states include other grounds.
In Washington, the absent parent has given implied consent to adoption or relinquishment pursuant to Section 26-10A-9 as outlined below:
Most states do not have any provisions for the visitation rights of the parent losing parental rights, or the grandparents associated with that parent. There are some states that will recognize agreements for visitation by the parent losing their parental rights, but this is typically up to the discretion of the adopting parents.
Our documents are for the entire State of Washington.
You must file the adoption documents in the Family Court in the county in which you are filing. Some court addresses for larger counties are as follows:
Thurston County Superior Court:2000 Lakeridge Dr SW, Bldg 2, Olympia, WA 98502 Phone: 360-786-5560 Fax: 360-754-4060
Pierce County Superior Court:930 Tacoma Ave S, Rm 534, Tacoma, WA 98402-2108 Phone: 253-798-3654 Fax: 253-798-7214
King County Superior Court: 516 3rd Ave, Rm C-203, Seattle, WA 98104-2361 Phone: 206-296-9100 Fax: 206-296-0986
Snohomish County Superior Court:30 Putney Road, Brattleboro, VT 05301 Phone: (802) 257-2830
Caledonia County Family Court: 3000 Rockefeller Ave, MS 502, Everett, WA 98201-4046 Phone: 425-388-3421 Fax: 425-388-3498
Whatcom County Superior Court:311 Grand Ave, Ste 301, Bellingham, WA 98225-4048 Phone: 360-676-6777 Fax: 360-676-6693
Skagit County Superior Court: 205 W Kincaid St, Rm 202, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-4225 Phone: 360-336-9320 Fax: 360-336-9340
Clark County Superior Court:1200 Franklin St, PO Box 5000, Vancouver, WA 98666-5000 Phone: 360-397-2150 Fax: 360-397-6078
Benton County Superior Court: 7122 W Okanogan Pl, Bldg A, Kennewick, WA 99336-2359 Phone: 509-736-3071 Fax: 509-736-3057
Spokane County Superior Court:1116 W Broadway Ave, Rm 300, Spokane, WA 99260-0350 Phone: 509-477-5790 Fax: 509-477-5714
Yakima County Superior Court: 128 N 2nd St, Rm 314, Yakima, WA 98901-2639 Phone: 509-574-2710 Fax: 509-574-2701 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Franklin County Superior Court: 1016 N 4th Ave., Pasco, WA 99301-3706 Phone: 509-736-3071 Fax: 509-736-3057
Grant County Superior Court:35 C St NW, 2nd Fl, PO Box 37, Ephrata, WA 98823-0037 Phone: 509-754-2011 Fax: 509-754-6036
The court filing fees for an adoption in Washington are $250.00. The publication fee is approximately $65.
There may also be a home study fee that is paid later in the adoption process. Check with your local court for the fee, if any, that may be associated with the home study.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.
In many stepparent adoptions, the absent parent may be willing to sign a consent form which consents to the termination of their parental rights and consents to the adoption. If the absent parent is willing to sign a consent, this will make the process a little easier because the court will know from the beginning that all parties agree to the stepparent adoption. Many of our adoption customers don’t know the whereabouts of the other parent, or the other parent has such a disinterest that he/she just won’t sign any documents. In this situation, you will file the adoption documents and then serve the absent parent by the following manner:
1. Whereabouts of the other parent are UNKNOWN:
If you are unable to locate the absent parent after a diligent search, then you can serve the parent by publication. This means that a notice is published in a local legal publication. Typically publication is once a week for 4 weeks. The publication fee for the newspaper averages around $85, but varies depending on where you live. Upon the filing of the Affidavit, the clerk shall direct that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We provide all the required documents for service by publication.
2.The parent just won’t sign, but grounds exist for the adoption: If you know the whereabouts of the other parent, but that parent won’t sign due to disinterest, you can have that parent served by the Sheriff’s department or a private process server. This can be done even if the other parent is incarcerated in jail or a federal prison.
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