How do I adopt my fiancees child during the immigration process? 3 Answers as of June 20, 2011

Is there some time during my fiance visa process that I can suggest to change her child's name to mine, or is there an easier point to adopt her during this process to save time with all the paperwork?

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Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC | Lynne Feldman
Different options depending on whether your fiance and her child are overseas or here. The issues of immigration and adoption are different and it is often easier to complete the adoption after the child is your stepchild (after marriage). Your fiances child can be brought as a K-2 if you are petitioning for a K-1 for your fiance. Once here both can adjust status after marriage to permanent residents. Alternatively if you marry overseas you can file petitions for both one as spouse and one as stepchild and then go through a state court adoption process once in the U.S. If you are here then you would file two separate petitions for your spouse and her child and both would be treated as immediate relatives. The adoption process can go on concurrently or thereafter. If you would like help on these processes give me a call to discuss.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/20/2011
Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law
Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law | Theresa E. Tilton
It is not clear who is the US citizen, you or your fiancee. Just changing the child's name will not accomplish an adoption. Stepparent adoption is a matter of state law. Generally, the stepfather is not allowed to adopt the child unless the father's parental rights have been terminated. "The paperwork" to which you refer is necessary to protect the rights of all concerned. Rights concerning parentage and family are fundamental first amendment rights. This is not a do-it-yourself project. Please consult a lawyer, such as me, who is experienced in both family law and immigration law.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/20/2011
Marie Michaud Attorney At Law
Marie Michaud Attorney At Law | Marie Michaud
It is much easier to just do the paperwork as the children of your fiance. Get mom here with the K-1 visa. Her children under age 21 will qualify for a K-2 visa. They are her dependent. When mom arrives in the US, she will get married to you. She will file the adjustment as a person who came to the US with a K-1 visa. The children will do the paperwork as the children of a K-1 adjustment applicant. Eventually, when mom is ready for naturalization and she becomes an American citizen, the children will automatically become American citizen as well provided they are under age 18 at the time their mother naturalized. This process is fairly simple for someone who has done tons of those. It is a lot more complicated immigration process if you decide to adopt them. (You can always adopt them once they are American citizens, if you still want to do so. Then you will need a family law attorney). Good luck.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/17/2011
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