Adoption legally establishes a parent-child relationship between two people who are at least 10 years apart in age. Adoptive parents have a legal responsibility to support their adopted children financially and provide care for them until they reach adulthood. Adopted children have the right to inherit from their adoptive parents even if the parents do not leave a will. For this reason, California law makes it possible to adopt a child or an adult. With this in mind, you are probably searching for more information about the adoption process in California. Here’s what you need to know.
First, if you adopt an adult, there is no obligation of financial support, but a person adopted as an adult still has the right to inherit from his or her adoptive parents. The adoption process varies depending on 1) the age of the adoptee, 2) where the adoptee lives, and 3) the parties participating in the adoption process. All adoption processes require the parties to file forms with the court. Fortunately, the adoption process does not require the adoptive parents to hire a lawyer, although some adoptive parents choose to hire lawyers. It is a good idea to hire a legal document assistant to prepare the court documents related to your adoption, so you can concentrate on your family transition.
The Different Types of Adoption Processes in California
California recognizes the following types of adoptions:
- Agency Adoption – The California Department of Social Services or a licensed public or private adoption agency matches the child to the adoptive parents. Typically with this type of adoption process, the children adopted through agency adoptions are part of the foster care system. Often birth parents voluntarily petition the court to terminate their parental rights. Sometimes the court files its own petition to terminate the rights of the biological parents. Either way, this allows the placement of the children for adoption.
- Independent Adoption – In this type of adoption process, the birth parents and adoptive parents contact each other directly and agree about the adoption. In some independent adoptions, a third party acts as an intermediary. The role of the intermediary is solely to introduce the birth parents to the adoptive parents.
- Stepparent Adoption – A stepparent adopts a child after marrying that child’s biological parent, thereby becoming a legal parent of the child. With a stepparent adoption process, the biological parent married to the stepparent retains their rights as a parent. This process only addresses the rights of the non-custodial parent. Consent to the adoption process can be voluntary or by filing a petition to terminate parental rights.
- Adult Adoption – With the adoption process, the adopted person (adoptee) must be at least 18 years of age, and the adopting parent must be at least ten years older. Because the adoptee is legally an adult, there are no issues of required consent or termination of parental rights. Keep in mind that not all states allow for adult adoption.
It is possible to adopt a child even if you are single. In approximately one-quarter of adoption cases in California, the adoptive parent is single. If you are adopting a child, you must go through an extensive process of screening to make sure that you will provide proper care for the child. When you adopt a child, California allows you to take parental leave from work, even if the child is not an infant when you adopt him or her.
Focus on Your Family, Not on Paperwork
The California adoption process involves a lot of paperwork, but you do not need to pay top dollar for the services of a lawyer. Contact A People’s Choice to prepare the documents you need for any type of adoption in California. We can make the adoption process easy and stress-free. Give us a call today at 800-747-2780.
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