What is an Adoption?
Adoption is the legal process by which a person becomes a lawful member of a different family from their birth family. An adoption ends the rights of a birth parent and creates rights for the adoptive parent(s).
Once the court has issued the order of adoption, the adoptive parents gain the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. This includes rights to inheritance, child support and other legal matters.
At the time the adoption is finalized, the adopted child’s name can legally be changed, and an amended birth certificate can be issued.
Who can Adopt in California?
Any adult living in California may file a petition to adopt a child who is at least ten years younger than the petitioner. Married couples are most likely to apply to become adoptive parents, although single and divorced people are not prohibited from adopting in California. The following persons generally may adopt:
- A husband and wife or two domestic partners, jointly.
- The unmarried minor birth parent of the person being adopted.
- An unmarried adult along with the birth parent of the person being adopted.
- An unmarried adult, individually.
- An adult who is married or has a domestic partner with the consent of their spouse or domestic partner.
- In California adoptions, the person adopting must be a California resident.