If you want to file for adoption in California, there are various methods to go about it. In general, adoption requires an adult to take on all legal and parental responsibilities for a child. While there are many types of adoption, each has its own set of laws and regulations. California adoption law statutes dictate the requirements for potential parents, such as their minimum age and other considerations. Stepparent adoption is generally a more straightforward process than independent or agency adoption. Regardless of the route you are taking to adopt, you must complete Form Adopt-210 as part of the process. Form Adopt-210 is the adoption agreement form stipulating the terms and conditions of your parental obligations to the adopted child. The following information discusses the types of adoption, the process for filing, and the things you need to know if you are thinking about adopting a child in California.
Types of Adoption
Every adoption scenario is unique. As such, there are different conditions under which you may want to adopt. For example, you may be the significant other to someone who has a child you want to help raise. Conversely, you may want to adopt a child from another country. Find out more about the different types of adoption below.
To file for adoption in California as a stepparent, you must be in a relationship with someone who already has a child. You can be legally married to this person, or be in a domestic partnership. Stepparent adoption is also known as domestic partner adoption. This common type of adoption is easiest to achieve because one of the child’s birth parents remain in his or her life daily.
Independent adoptions do not incorporate the Department of Social Services or another adoption agency. Furthermore, the child’s existing parents do not have to relinquish their parental rights if the adopting parents agree. Speak to your adoption lawyer for more about the independent adoption process in California.
Agency adoptions entail dealing with an agent who handles many aspects of the process. You must adhere to the many regulations and steps set forth by the agency.
As indicated, the child you seek to adopt is born in another country.
Speak to a family attorney to determine your adoption rights and options. In some cases, adoption may not be necessary.
The Steps of the Adoption Process
If you want to file for adoption in California, the steps differ according to your situation. The process diverges further depending on your relationship status as a stepparent. Agency and International adoption follow a similar but different set of steps.
There are two types of stepparent adoption: stepparent adoption to confirm parentage and stepparent/domestic partner adoption.
Stepparent adoption to confirm parentage – Does not require a court hearing, nor must the social worker conduct an investigation or report
- The stepparent was married to or in a domestic partnership with the birth parent when the child was born
- The stepparent is still in a relationship with the birth parent
- Complete steps 1-6 below
Stepparent/domestic partner adoption – Requires social worker investigation and a court hearing
- Was not married to or in a domestic partnership with the birth parent when the child was born
- Is no longer married to or in a domestic partnership with the birth parent
- Complete steps 1-11 below
Numbered Adoption Steps
- Learn about the California adoption process with Form Adopt-050-Info
- Fill out the following forms:
- Adoption Request Form Adopt-200
- Adoption Agreement Form Adopt-210
- Adoption Order Form Adopt-215
- Have a lawyer or family law facilitator review your forms
- Make copies of all of your completed forms
- Submit your adoption forms with the clerk of courts
- Get consent from children 12 years of age or older
- Have someone serve the child’s other parent your Adoption Request form
- Receive the other parent’s consent
- Attend an interview and comply with an investigation
- Receive a court date for your adoption hearing
- Attend your adoption hearing
Agency or International Adoption Steps
The process to file for adoption through an agency or internationally is similar to the above. The steps, however, vary at step two if you are adopting Native American child. In which case, fill out:
- Adoption of Indian Child Form Adopt-220
- Parent of Indian Child Agrees to End Parental Rights Form Adopt-225
Agency and international adoption do not require you to serve papers to another parent. Aside from these differences, the steps remain the same as above.
The End of Parental Rights
When you file for adoption in California, the stepparent adoption process requires the other parent to lose his or her parental rights. Sometimes, the other parent will not consent, while other times, the other parent is difficult to locate.
If you want to start the adoption process, speak to Family Law attorney Erica Bansmer for more information regarding your case. She will answer your questions and work on your behalf to make you feel supported and updated throughout the process.