Stockton Adoption Lawyer
In the state of California, there are several ways to pursue an adoption. But despite these multiple paths forward, completing the process is often challenging.
At Bansmer Law, we specialize as San Joaquin County adoption lawyers. Our knowledge and experience in family law means we can effectively guide you through this important, emotional, and sometimes overwhelming journey.
Keep reading to learn about the most important parts of the California adoption process, get answers to your questions, and understand how a skilled California adoption lawyer can make all the difference.
What You Need to Know About California Adoption Laws
Growing your family by adopting a child is one of the most joyous experiences you can have in life. But that does not mean it is an easy process. Numerous obstacles and roadblocks in the legal system can quickly turn this process into a stressful and confusing time.
Speaking with a knowledgeable CA adoption lawyer like Erica M. Bansmer can help you understand this complex endeavor and stay focused on the bigger picture.
No matter what kind of adoption you’re pursuing—independent, through an agency, as a step-parent, or any other type—our team of knowledgeable legal experts will support you every step of the way.
The Two Most Crucial Legal Proceedings for CA Adoptions
In the state of California, there are two crucial legal proceedings necessary to the adoption process:
- Creating a legal parent-child relationship between you (the non-biological parent/parents) and the child
- Officially terminating the legal rights of the biological birth parent/parents
Consent is Key
A big consideration in CA adoption laws relates to consent. Several rules and regulations lay out whose consent is necessary for adoption, and what the paths forward are without this consent.
For example, the biological birth parent should ideally consent to the termination of their parental rights. California will not authorize an adoption—nor terminate parental rights—without proof of this consent.
Consent is also necessary if you’re adopting an older child. According to state law, children over the age of 12 must also consent to the adoption.
Lastly, if you’re married, you’ll need consent from your spouse too.
Navigating Problems with Birth Parents
Getting consent from a biological birth parent (or parents) can be difficult. You may even find that the birth parent is deceased, or their location is unknown.
Here are the most important things you need to know about this part of the California adoption process:
- If the biological birth parent is deceased, the court will need to see a certified copy of the death certificate before the adoption process can continue
- If you cannot determine the location of a birth parent, you must present evidence demonstrating you took certain steps and made a reasonable effort to locate them. You’ll need records of this process to show the judge that you did your due diligence
- If the birth parent is unknown or will not admit to paternity, one path forward is requesting a waiver for the consent requirement
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Adopting a Child in California?
The eligibility requirements for adopting a child in California are:
- You must be at least 10 years older than the child you’d like to adopt, unless you are a relative or step-parent to the child
- You must complete a home study process, which includes fingerprinting, a criminal background check, a physical exam, attending adoption classes, interviews conducted by a social worker, an in-home visit, and an investigation led by a social worker
- You must complete a post-placement home study to ensure the child’s safety and well-being
What is the Process of Adopting a Child in California?
Here is the process for completing a simple process of adopting in California:
- Court documents must be completed and reviewed (As experienced San Joaquin County adoption lawyers, we can make sure you’ve filled out everything correctly)
- File your completed forms with the Court Clerk
- Serve documents to the biological birth parent(s)
- Participate in a formal interview and investigation to ensure you meet legal adoption requirements
Finally, you will have a court date scheduled for your adoption hearing. The child you hope to adopt must be present at this hearing too.
Can I Adopt a Child if I am Not Married?
Yes, you can adopt a child in California even if you are not married. The state calls this process an “individual adoption.” Basically, if you’re legally single, you can adopt.
But you may need to consider more than just state law. With international adoptions, for example, you’ll also need to meet that country’s adoption laws. Certain countries like Bulgaria, China, Colombia, and Haiti allow single parent adoptions.
All in all, trying to adopt when you aren’t married can complicate the process. You cannot technically adopt from all the same agencies and locations that a married couple can.
As a successful and focused San Joaquin County adoption lawyer, Erica M. Bansmer can work with you to make sure your rights are honored and to make the process as straightforward as possible.
Adopting Parent? Let Us Guide You
At Bansmer Law, our attorney Erica M. Bansmer is a dedicated and successful San Joaquin County adoption lawyer. She and our entire legal team understand the wide range of emotions that come with the adoption process.
While California adoption laws may seem intimidating, you have to remember they exist to protect children. Every step along the way is designed to ensure each child’s quality of life.
Most importantly, our team of legal experts is here to guide you every step of the way. We have every possible skill, resource, and relevant experience to help you finalize the adoption and grow your family.
If you have any questions about the adoption process or are ready to talk with an expert California adoption lawyer, just call our law office at 209-474-2400