Adoption is the legal process that permanently gives the adoptive parents legal parental rights over a child. Our lawyers at Sagaria Law, P.C. understand that adoption is a happy event that, at times, can be stressful. We provide clients an environment that is supportive of their needs as they work through the adoption process, and we understand that a high degree of sensitivity is critical to the many complex and emotional issues involved with adoption.
In the state of California, according to:
Family Code §§ 8600; 8601—an adult generally must be at least 10 years older than the child that he or she wishes to adopt.
Family Code § 8600—a person must be unmarried and under 18 years of age in order to be eligible to be adopted; unless, of course, the person is an adult who has consented to be legally adopted by another adult.
Family Code §§ 8801.5; 8704—only an underage child's biological parent or parents, a licensed adoption agency, and the California Department of Social Services are allowed to legally authorize an adoption.
Our family law attorneys assist clients located in the San Francisco/San Jose Bay Area in a variety of adoption matters, including:
- Independent Adoptions: Adoptions arranged directly between the birth parent and a specific family.
- Agency Adoption: Adoptions through a state licensed adoption agency or a private agency.
- International Adoption: For the family that wishes to adopt a child from another country.
- Stepparent Adoption: A stepparent wishes to become the adoptive parent of their spouse's biological child(ren).
- Single Parent Adoptions: Adoptions involving only one adoptive parent.
- Contested Adoption: A situation where a person who is close to the child—usually the biological parent, the foster parent, or a relative of the child—is opposed to an adoption taking place and decides to contest the adoption in court.
- Surrogacy: An arrangement where a woman agrees to carry to term a baby so that someone else may become the child's parent or parents. The child may or may not be biologically related to the surrogate.
- Child Placement: Placing a child in a home that can best fit his or her needs.
- Grandparent Visitation: The right of a grandparent to visit a child in the event of death, divorce, or estrangement from that child's parent or parents.
- Paternity: Unless a child's parents are married at the time of birth, a father must prove that he is legally the father.
- Foster Parent Rights: The rights of the person or persons who are taking care of a child over whom they do not have legal custody.
- Termination of Parental Rights: Legally severing the rights and responsibilities that a parent has over a child. This may be a voluntary act or an involuntary one imposed by the court.
A California court must approve all adoptions in this state. This means that a prospective parent who lives in San Jose and wishes to adopt a child must go through the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara; a couple residing in Berkeley must file their petition with the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda; a foster parent living in Pacific Grove who wishes to legally adopt the child in their care must have the adoption approved by the Superior Court of California, County of Monterey.
The adoptive parents are required to file a petition for the adoption and then participate in a hearing. Before the hearing can take place, anyone who must give their consent in order for the adoption to take place—such as the biological parents, the adoption agency, a legal representative of the child, or the child (if he or she is 12 years of age or older)—has to be notified that the process is taking place. This can include a child's biological parents, the adoption agency, the child (if he or she is 12 years of age or older), or the child's legal representative. At the hearing, the court will decide whether to issue an order known as a final decree of adoption that legalizes the adoptive parent-child relationship.
Our attorneys at Sagaria Law, P.C. can help you to draft your adoption petition, guide you through the adoption process, and represent you at the hearing. We can also help you deal with any legal complications that might arise during the adoption process.
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