Overview of California Adoption Laws
Adopting a child can be a memorable and joyous experience. However, there is also a risk of encountering significant legal roadblocks that leave you emotionally scarred and traumatized. This is why it is so important to speak with an experienced family lawyer in California to discuss the best path forward. Gaining a general understanding of adoption laws in California can be a big help and reduce the risk of feeling anxious and stressed out with uncertainty. For example, an experienced Novato adoption attorney can walk you through the steps involved, the paperwork that is required to be completed and the timeframe you should expect to complete the entire adoption process. Whether you are a doing step-parent, independent, or other form of adoption Castro Law is here to guide you through this process.
Two Key Legal Proceedings
In California, the adoption process is comprised of two key legal proceedings:
1. Establishing a legal parent and child relationship between the child and the non-biological parent, or parents
2. Terminating the legal rights of one or more biological-birth parents
Consent is Critically Important
There are a series of rules and regulations governing who must consent to the adoption and what can be done absent consent. For example, termination of parental rights generally should be accomplished with the consent of the biological-birth parent. Most states, including California, will not grant an adoption and terminate parental rights without evidence of consent.
In addition to consent being important for the termination of birth parent rights, it is extremely important if you are trying to adopt an older child. For example, under California law, if you are attempting to adopt a child who is over the age of 12, you must obtain the consent of the child to complete the adoption process.
If you are married and attempting to adopt a child, then your spouse must also consent to the adoption.
Issues with Birth Parents
Securing the consent of a birth parent, or parents, can be challenging, especially in certain circumstances where it may be difficult to locate the birth parent or the birth parent is deceased. Here is some important info you need to know if you encounter issues with securing the consent of a birth parent:
• If it turns out that a biological-birth parent has passed away, you need to try and obtain a certified copy of their death certificate to present to the court for the adoption to go forward.
• If you cannot locate a biological-birth parent, you need to present evidence that specific steps were taken to show that a reasonable attempt was made to locate the biological-birth parent. Maintaining records of your search efforts is important because a judge will ultimately determine if sufficient steps were taken to try and find the birth parent.
• If the biological-birth parent is not known, or refuses to admit to paternity, then you could request that the consent requirement be waived.
Overview of the Proceedings to Complete a Simple Adoption
Here is an overview of the steps that need to be taken to complete a simple adoption in California:
• Court forms need to be filled out and reviewed (having an experienced Novato adoption attorney review the forms would be beneficial).
• File the forms with the Court Clerk.
• Serve documents on the biological-birth parent.
• You will undergo a formal interview and an investigation will be conducted.
A court date will be scheduled and the adoption hearing will be held. The child must be brought to the hearing.
Have Questions About Adoption Laws in California? Schedule a Confidential Case Review with an Experienced Adoption Attorney in Novato Today
If you are looking to adopt a child in California, Castro Law Offices is here to help. We are a premier California law firm specializing in adoption issues, divorce, child custody, and all other issues concerning domestic relations. Castro Law Offices is based in Novato, California, but is ready and able to provide legal services and advice to clients in and around Marin County including Novato, San Rafael, Greenbrae, San Anselmo, Fairfax, Sausalito, Larkspur, West Marin, Ross, Mill Valley and Corte Madera. Contact Castro Law Offices today to schedule a confidential consultation.