ADOPTION ATTORNEYS IN
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA
Approximately 5,500 children are adopted in California every year and 2,000 more are waiting for someone to make them a part of their family. Californians also adopt children from other countries. Stepparents adopt their spouse’s children. And adults adopt other adults who are disabled or those whom the adoptive parents want to establish a claim to their estate.
Whatever the reason, adoption signifies a person’s wish to welcome someone else into their family. It is a very special gift to both the adopter and the adoptee.
The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer has helped create families throughout Santa Clara and Alameda counties, California, and surrounding communities by guiding them through the adoption process. With more than 30 years of combined family law experience, our attorneys deliver comprehensive and effective representation.
TYPES OF ADOPTION
The process of adoption can take a variety of different forms. While these forms can often vary from state to state, there are five generally accepted forms of adoption in California. The five different types of adoption include the following:
Agency adoptions involve the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), county adoption agency, or a licensed adoption agency in the adoption process. The CDSS or agency handles the termination of parental rights so children can be adopted.
Independent adoptions are handled primarily with a family law attorney. The birth parents choose the adoptive parents. If the birth parents and adoptive parents agree to open adoption, the birth parents may have ongoing contact and access to identifying information.
As you may already know, international adoption involves the adoption of a child from a foreign country. The adoption must be finalized by the foreign country you are adopting from or by the State of California.
ADOPTION BY A STEPPARENT
When a stepparent wishes to adopt, this process requires that the other biological parent terminate any parental rights so that the stepparent can become the child’s legal parent. The stepparent must be married to or be the registered domestic partner of the child’s biological parent.
ADOPTION OF AN ADULT
This form of adoption formalizes an existing relationship, offers a path for inheritance, or provides full legal responsibility for an incapacitated adult.
CALIFORNIA ADOPTION LAW
Any adult in California may adopt a child as long as they are at least 10 years older than the person being adopted. There are exceptions to this in cases of adoption by a stepparent, sibling, aunt or uncle, or a first cousin, with court approval.
Any unmarried minor child or any married minor child or adult may be adopted.
Children age 12 years and older must consent to the adoption. In the case of a stepparent adoption, both biological parents must consent to the adoption.
OVERVIEW OF THE ADOPTION PROCESS
In an agency adoption, CDSS or the adoption agency handles the birth parents’ relinquishment of a child or the court order terminating parental rights. While the child is in its custody and care, the agency conducts the home study of the adoptive parents, approves the adoption application, and supervises the child’s placement with adoptive parents for six months.
No home study is required for a stepparent adoption although a six-month evaluation is required before the adoption is finalized.
In an independent adoption, the birth parents usually choose the adoptive parents. A registered Adoption Service Provider, who must be either a licensed clinical social worker or a licensed marriage and family therapist with at least five years of experience providing adoption casework services, counsels the birth parent. The birth parent signs an Independent Adoption Service Placement Agreement which becomes irrevocable within 30 days unless the birth parent changes her mind.
The child’s birth country regulates an international adoption, although U.S. federal law processes a special immigration visa for the child.
The primary requirement for an adult adoption is obtaining the consent of the adoptee.
YOUR FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY’S ROLE
Most independent adoptions are handled by an attorney. Although other types of adoptions do not mandate that you involve an attorney, adoptions are legal contracts. Some are more complicated than others or carry a greater risk of breaking down during the process. In the end, no matter which type of adoption you pursue, you want to make sure the adoption has been completed to the letter of the law. Retaining a family law attorney with adoption experience to review your options and assist in making key decisions, is a wise decision.
ADOPTION ATTORNEYS IN SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we have helped dozens of parents of all types build families of all shapes and sizes. Adoption is an exciting and life-altering decision and we want to make sure you know all your options. We have the experience and resources you need for a successful adoption process. Contact us today for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in San Jose, Morgan Hill, and surrounding communities including Fremont, Hayworth, and Pleasanton, California.