Looking to Adopt in California?
Updated: Jun 5
Find A Family Law Attorney to Start Your Adoption Process
Adoption is described in California as the legal process by which the birth parent's parental rights are terminated and permanently transferred to the adoptive parents, with the adopted child being considered a family member. Even if you are single, do not own your own house, or are older, you can become an adoptive parent and adopt a child.
When a California probate court appoints an adult who is not the child's parent to care for and tend to a child or a child's property, it is known as guardianship. If the child is not involved in a Family Court or Juvenile Court case, the probate court in California can only grant probate guardianship. Probate guardianships are divided into two categories: guardianship of the individual and guardianship of the properties.
Adoption Laws in California
Adoption is the legal process of forming a family between a parent or parents and a child who is not biologically related to them. Adoption laws vary by state, and there are many different forms of adoption. Adoption can take place between potential parents and an adoption agency, or it can take place between a private citizen and an adoption agency. Our prescreened Family Lawyers will know the unique needs of LGBT children and parents.
Since adoption is finalized, the child's birth parents no longer have any legal rights over him or her. Many couples and even singles want to start a family but are unable to conceive or chose not to for a variety of reasons.
Adoption could be the best option for gay couples who want to start a family. Whatever your motivation for wanting to adopt a child, we have the specific Family Lawyer that we can match you with. Most adoption and foster care agencies strive to position children in the best possible environment for them, one that will enable them to grow up in a caring environment that will benefit both the child and the parents. There are thousands of children in foster care or pending adoption in the United States, and there's no reason you and your partner can't be the ones to adopt them.
While only married couples could adopt a child in the past, times have changed, and many other couples in relationships can now adopt openly and legally. When it comes to encouraging same-sex couples to adopt, whether married or not, California has some of the most progressive rules. Regardless of the legal issues, if you suit the "untraditional" position, you can expect to have a more difficult time adopting than if you have a "traditional" marriage with both parents. Before continuing, it's also crucial to understand the nuances of adoption laws in other states and countries. Some states and countries outright prohibit same-sex couples from adopting, and other prohibitions can raise concerns that could lead to future problems for adoptive parents and children.
In California, what are the three forms of adoption?
1. Adoption and Foster Care
The children/minors are placed in a community home or a private home with a state-certified caregiver known as "foster parents." To keep the child safe, the group homes and caregivers must be evaluated on a regular basis by child welfare staff. After the court orders an adoption plan, the foster parents are often encouraged to adopt the infant.
This is the ongoing procedure for assuming parental responsibility for an infant. Adoption entails the biological parents relinquishing their rights and obligations to the adoptive parents.
Biological parents can have some contact and interaction with their children after an open adoption. In 2009, the United States made it possible to use legally enforceable open adoption contract agreements in the adoption process.
There are seals shielding details in a closed adoption to avoid exposure of adoptive and biological parents. A closed adoption allows for the release of "non-identifying" material, such as the child's medical history and ethnic background. Both types of adoptions will be evaluated on a daily basis by child care staff and government officials, regardless of the form of adoption.
C. Legal Guardianship
In layman's terms, a legal guardian is someone who has the legal right to look after another person's personal interests and property. In the event of death, a parent may name a legal guardian, but the court must accept this.
Adoption Requirements in California
A stepparent adoption, in which a non-genetic father and/or mother are involved, or independent adoption, in which a non-relative or relative, but not necessarily a stepparent, is involved. In all types of adoptions, the county conducts an audit.
Some of the conditions for adoption in California are as follows:
You must be at least 18 years old to participate.
You are at least ten years the child's senior.
You are either the stepparent or domestic partner of your spouse's child.
You are a spouse or an employee of a provider who provides board and care, medication, and shelter for people with intellectual disabilities.
You are either a single person or a married couple who may adopt.
If you're adopting an older child, make sure he or she is at least 12 years old and has given consent to the adoption.
The procedure is much simpler if the biological parent(s) agrees. If they refuse, a hearing to terminate their parental rights is scheduled. If the biological parents are poor, a Family Law Attorney is assigned to represent them. Children aged 12 and up can give their consent, which the court will consider in the proceedings.
If the biological parent's parental rights are revoked through an independent adoption, the State of California Health and Human Services Agency conducts a second investigation. Even in a stepparent adoption, a follow-up report is produced after parental rights are terminated. After completing such final reports, a motion for an Adoption Hearing is filed to receive the final adoption orders. Adoptions will take a long time if they are contested.
Specific Types of Adoption
For any form of family, there are a variety of adoption choices to consider. An adoptive parent who is a stepparent, a biological or legal parent's same-sex domestic partner, or a second-parent in an unmarried or unregistered domestic partnership is all adoptions in which our prescreened Family Lawyers specialize in.
1. A stepparent's adoption
Adoption is a fantastic way to cement your maternal relationship with your stepchild. If a stepparent is married to the birth parent and has control and custody of the minor child, he or she will adopt the child. After that, you will be held legally liable for the boy. This is especially significant when a biological parent is absent, has no interaction with the child, or has simply abandoned the child. Stepparent adoption is usually permitted in these situations. Complications may arise in your attempts to reunite your family through adoption, just as they do in any legal action. Our Prescreened California Attorneys will be assisting you and your family in developing adoption choices and setting specific goals for the steps involved.
The adoption procedure.
The adoption procedure entails terminating the other parent's legal parental rights or consent, working with the social worker in charge of examining and interviewing the child, and completing all legal paperwork and future court appearances.
The stepparent files an adoption request to start the adoption process. This request must include the biological parent to whom the stepparent is married. The stepparent and biological parent must revoke the other parent's rights or ask the court to proceed without their permission. Any effort should be made to locate and inform the absent parent of the request to revoke parental rights and obtain his or her consent.
Duration of marriage.
While it is not mandatory, the California Department of Social Services recommends that both the stepparent and biological parent file an adoption petition at least one year after their marriage.
Investigation and a home visit. The Department of Social Services (DSS) needs a home visit and investigation as part of the adoption process in order to protect the best interests of the minor child. A DSS investigator will interview the child (depending on their age) and present their findings and recommendations to the court.
The biological parents' consent is required.
Both biological parents must consent to revoke the absent parent's rights before the stepparent can become the child's legal parent. A biological parent may wish to terminate their parental rights for a variety of reasons. For financial or emotional reasons, a parent may believe it is in the child's best interests. Even if you have consented to the adoption, you can still see and spend time with your child by drafting a post-adoption communication agreement. Children aged 12 and up must sign a consent form and consent to a stepparent adoption.
Parental rights are being terminated via a petition.
If the biological parent refuses to agree, you must file a motion to have parental rights revoked. You must show in the petition that the absent biological parent has not exercised their parental rights for a certain period of time, that they have emotionally or financially deserted the child, or that they are unfit to be a legal parent for a certain period of time.
The court will decide whether or not to terminate parental rights at a separate hearing. Abandonment, incarceration, failure to pay child maintenance, failure to have a meaningful relationship with the child, and the missing parent's whereabouts are among the grounds for termination.
Adoption can be challenged.
If you are a parent who does not want your child to be adopted by a stepparent, our prescreened California Attorneys will help you fight the petition to revoke parental rights by demonstrating that you should be the legal parent of your child. They have extensive experience challenging and ensuring that your parental rights are secured.
After the Adoption Process.
All parties have the same rights and responsibilities as birth parents until the adoption is finalized. Financial responsibilities, custody, child support obligations, succession, and personal responsibility for your child's intentional torts are among these rights. The birth parent would (in most cases) have no rights or responsibilities to the child until the adoption is finalized.
2. Adoption by a domestic partner
For same-sex couples, the adoption process may be fraught with difficulties. Fortunately, in California, same-sex couples may adopt domestic partnership rules. Stepparent adoption laws extend to intimate partner adoptions, which are less complicated than traditional adoptions since one of the parents is the biological parent. Same-sex couples who wish to adopt, however, must first register with the state as domestic partners.
Registration is a domestic relationship between two people of the same gender. To adopt as a same-sex couple, you must first register as domestic partners with the Secretary of State. As a result, under California state law, all licensed intimate partners have many of the same rights and obligations as other spouses.
In California, there is a presumption of domestic partnership
California law presumes that an infant born into a domestic union is the couple's legal child, regardless of a biological relationship. Even then, obtaining a court order naming the domestic partners as the child's legal parents is a smart idea. Domestic partnership law is still in flux, particularly at the federal level and in other states. The legal arrangement will be honored nationally and by other states as a result of this court decision in the context of a domestic partnership adoption.
The adoption procedure