Adoption  San Diego’s Family Law Experts®

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San Diego Adoption Lawyer

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One of the most joyous moments in life is adding a new member to the family. However, adoption in California can be a complex and meticulous process, which is why it is wise to hire an experienced lawyer to help you navigate all the legalities.

At Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC, we understand how stressful and emotionally draining the adoption process can be. We also recognize that no two adoptions are the same. That is why we take the time to get to know you, your family, and your goals. We will then work with you to create an adoption plan that is tailored to your needs and will help you achieve your goals.

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What is Adoption in California?

Under California law, adoption is defined as the legal process by which a person or couple becomes the permanent legal parent(s) of a child. It involves establishing a legal parent-child relationship between individuals who are not biologically related. Once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parent(s) assume full legal rights, responsibilities, and obligations for the child, just as if they were the child's biological parent(s).

Here are some common types of adoptions:

  • Domestic Infant Adoption: This type of adoption involves adopting a newborn or young child within the adoptive parents' country of residence. Birth parents voluntarily place their child for adoption, and adoptive parents work with adoption agencies or attorneys to complete the adoption process.
  • Foster Care Adoption: Foster care adoption occurs when a child who is placed in the foster care system becomes legally available for adoption. These children may have been removed from their birth parents' custody due to abuse, neglect, or other reasons. Foster care adoptions are typically facilitated through public or private agencies and may involve older children, sibling groups, or children with special needs.
  • International Adoption: International adoption involves adopting a child from another country. The process and requirements for international adoption vary depending on the country of origin and the laws and regulations of both the sending and receiving countries. Prospective adoptive parents must comply with the adoption procedures of the foreign country and also complete the necessary immigration and adoption requirements in their home country.
  • Stepparent Adoption: Stepparent adoption occurs when a stepparent legally adopts their spouse's child from a previous relationship. This type of adoption aims to establish a legal parent-child relationship between the stepparent and the child, providing the child with the same rights and responsibilities as a biological child.
  • Relative Adoption: Relative adoption involves a close relative, such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling, adopting a child. This type of adoption allows a child to be raised within their extended family while formalizing the legal relationship between the child and the adoptive relative.
  • Open Adoption: Open adoption is an arrangement where the adoptive parents and birth parents have ongoing contact and share information about each other. The level of openness can vary, ranging from occasional updates to frequent visits and communication. Open adoption allows for ongoing relationships and connections between the birth family and the adoptive family.
  • Closed Adoption: Closed adoption refers to a more traditional approach where identifying information about the birth parents and adoptive parents is not shared. In closed adoptions, there is typically no contact or exchange of information between the birth parents and the adoptive family. However, it's worth noting that closed adoptions are less common today, and there is often the possibility of accessing identifying information through intermediary organizations or legal procedures.

The adoptive parent must be at least 10 years older than the child they are adopting. If the child is 12 years of age or older, then they must agree to the adoption.

What are the Steps to Adopt a Child in CA?

Here is a general overview of the necessary steps for a simple adoption proceeding in California:

  • Research and Preparation: Prospective adoptive parents should gather information about adoption laws and procedures in California. It's essential to understand the requirements, eligibility criteria, and potential challenges associated with adoption.
  • Attend Adoption Orientation: Prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to attend adoption orientation sessions provided by adoption agencies or other organizations. These orientations provide valuable information about the adoption process, requirements, and available resources.
  • Select an Adoption Agency or Attorney: Choose a licensed adoption agency or an adoption attorney to guide you through the adoption process. Research and select a reputable and experienced professional who can assist you in completing the necessary paperwork, conducting background checks, and facilitating the adoption.
  • Complete a Home Study: Undergo a home study, which is an assessment of the prospective adoptive parents' suitability to adopt. This process includes interviews, background checks, home visits, and the submission of required documents. The home study evaluates the prospective parents' ability to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child.
  • File an Adoption Petition: Once the home study is completed and approved, file an adoption petition with the appropriate court. The adoption petition formally requests the court to grant the adoption and establish the adoptive parent-child relationship.
  • Obtain Consent or Termination of Parental Rights: In most cases, consent from the child's biological parents or legal guardians is required for adoption. If the biological parents are unable or unwilling to provide consent, the court may terminate their parental rights if it determines that it is in the best interest of the child.
  • Adoption Hearing: Attend an adoption hearing, where the court reviews the adoption petition and determines whether the adoption should be granted. During the hearing, the court may ask questions and evaluate the best interests of the child.
  • Post-Placement Supervision: Following the adoption hearing, there may be a post-placement supervision period. A social worker may conduct visits to assess the child's well-being and the adoptive family's adjustment. The duration and frequency of these visits depend on the specific requirements of the adoption.
  • Finalization of Adoption: Once all necessary requirements, including the post-placement supervision period, are completed, the court issues a final decree of adoption. This legal document finalizes the adoption, granting the adoptive parents full parental rights and responsibilities.

At Moore, Schulman & Moore, APC, we understand how stressful and emotionally draining the adoption process can be. We also recognize that no two adoptions are the same. That is why we take the time to get to know you, your family, and your goals. We will then work with you to create an adoption plan that is tailored to your needs and will help you achieve your goals.

Contact our firm at (858) 492-7968 to learn more about how we can help you through the adoption process.


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