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Stepparent Adoption in Oregon

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Public law librarians are frequently asked how a stepparent can adopt a child. Non-attorneys think this is a simple legal procedure and all they need are “forms.” (And no, no, no … a name change will not accomplish the same purpose.)

It is not simple (repeat, IT IS NOT SIMPLE). If you prepare and file the wrong documents, at best you need to prepare and file again (and pay the fees again); at worst, everything (repeat, EVERYTHING) goes wrong and the parties who you intended to benefit from the transaction may end up paying the price, in ways too excruciatingly sad to contemplate.

But do contemplate what could go wrong and PLEASE consult an OREGON attorney before you prepare and file any paperwork. If you use an unseen, untried online service, make sure you read ALL THE FINE PRINT and consult an Oregon attorney.

At the very least, if you use an online service, use this checklist to evaluate a legal information web site. But you will need much, much more to evaluate the quality of online legal services. Online anonymous testimonials from the website are not sufficient. You need to know the name of the attorney working on your case and know if that attorney is licensed to practice in Oregon.

To find an Oregon attorney, use this How to Find a Lawyer in Oregon blog post or for a direct link, try here.

If you want to read about adoption in Oregon, check out the information at the Oregon State Bar and Oregon Legal Aid. Or, visit a public law library, where you can find the following materials, which are not generally available at public libraries, nor are they online:

-OSB Deskbooks: Family Law and Juvenile Law

-OSB Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Juvenile Law But Were Afraid to Ask

-OSB The ABC’s of Adoption

-And, of course, Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS). (Yes, we’re still waiting on the 2007s to be posted online. They are in print though.)

Disclaimer: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law (ORS 9.160, 9.166 and 9.21). They may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights. They may, however, assist patrons in locating materials or links that would aid in individual research.

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