Experienced Adoption Attorney
Law Firm Specializing in Adoptions Filed in the Inland Empire of Southern California
There is no happier place on earth than the inside of a courtroom at the final stage of the adoption process, the final adoption hearing (sorry, Disneyland). During that hearing, the adoptive parent(s) and child(ren) formally consent (if over the age of 12) to become lawful members of the same family. The proceedings are informal; family and friends may move about the courtroom to view the proceedings and photographs may be taken, as the happy new family embraces. Children are usually given a stuffed animal or piece of candy, and there are few dry eyes to be found. Knowing that many of the children who are fortunate enough to get to the happy end of the adoption process may have already experienced heartbreak, abandonment, hunger, or even cruelty in their young lives makes witnessing the magic of the adoption hearing all the more special.
While the adoption process can end with unmitigated joy, it is important to remember that the process generally begins with the termination, either voluntarily or involuntarily, of the parental rights of a biological (natural) parent.
Termination of Parental Rights in California – Family Code 7660 – 7671
According to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Unites Dates Constitution, no State shall ‘deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’ (U.S.C.A. Const Amend. XIV, § 1) In Troxel v. Granville (2000) 530 U.S. 57, the United States Supreme Court provided extensive analysis regarding the longstanding consensus of American Jurisprudence that the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children is a fundamental right, not to be deprived without due process of law.
The Troxel court stated:
The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no State shall ‘deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’ We have long recognized that the Amendment’s Due Process Clause, like its Fifth Amendment counterpart, ‘guarantees more than fair process.’ Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 719 (1997). The Clause also includes a substantive component that ‘provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests.’ 521 U.S. at 720; see also Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 301-302 (1993). The liberty interest at issue in this case–the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.
Due process of law requires “at a minimum…that deprivation of life, liberty or property by adjudication be preceded by notice and opportunity for hearing appropriate to the nature of the case.” Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Tr. Co. (1950) 339 U. S. 306, 313. This opportunity ‘must be granted at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.’ Armstrong v. Manzo (1965) 380 U.S. 545.
As a result of the deep-seeded constitutional protections afforded parental rights, the California Family Code sets forth various procedural and substantive requirements which must be met prior to the termination of parental rights. A knowledgeable adoption attorney can help parents, prospective parents, and children through this process to ensure all procedural requirements are met.
California Adoption Laws – Family Code § 8500 – § 9240
Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child’s biological or birth parent. Once the adoption is final, the adoptive parent(s) have all the legal rights, duties, and responsibilities of any other biological or natural parent. That new parent-child relationship is permanent and is exactly the same as that of a birth family under the law, complete with a new birth certificate.
This means that if the adoptive parent(s) later decide to get a divorce, legal separation or file for a restraining order due to domestic violence, the same child custody disputes can arise as do between two biological parents.
How to Adopt a Child in California
The process required to complete a legal adoption in California depends on the particular facts of a given case, as these facts determine what type of adoption is being sought.
Types of Adoptions in California – Family Code 8700 – 9328
- Step-Parent Adoption – Where a step-parent seeks to legally adopt their spouse’s child (Cal Fam. Code § 9000 – § 9007).
- Close Relative & Grandparent Adoption – Where a relative or grandparent seeks to adopt the child of their close relative or child (Cal Fam. Code § 8730(a)(2)).
- Private Placement Adoption – Where the birth mother/parents choose the future-parents who will adopt her/their child (Cal Fam. Code § 8801).
- Agency Adoption – Where an adoption agency helps a future-parent to adopt a child (Cal Fam. Code § 8700).
- International Adoption – Where a future-parent seeks to adopt a child born in another country (Cal Fam. Code § 8900).
- Foster Care Adoption – Where a future-parent seeks to adopt a child in foster care (Cal Fam. Code § 8730(a)(1)).
- Adult Adoption – Where an adult seeks to adopt another adult. Most commonly, to formalize an existing step-parent relationship or another close, but informal, parent-child relationship (Cal Fam. Code § 9320 – § 9328).
Knowledgeable Adoption Attorneys Can Help Terminate Parental Rights, File Adoption Petitions, and Complete Adoptions in California
No matter the part you play in the adoption process, it is an emotional and stressful process from beginning to end. This is true whether you are a natural parent looking to place your baby up for adoption, a future parent looking to adopt a child, a step-parent seeking to adopt a step-child, or a child at the center of it all. Our experience inside and outside of the courtroom allows us to consistently deliver exceptional results for the families we represent. Our child custody attorneys are interested in finding tailored solutions to each family’s problems, using the facts and investigative tactics necessary to produce real-time solutions for our clients.
Our adoption attorneys will advise you every step of the way, so this emotional process becomes less daunting, and you can get to that adoption day in the courtroom faster.
If you want more information about the adoption process or are dealing with legal issues related to an ongoing or already completed adoption, and have questions for a child support attorney, divorce attorney, or domestic partnership attorney, it is important to know that we can help.
Contact Our Experienced Riverside, California Adoption Attorney Now
Future parents, step-parents, and natural parents can rely on the experience of our Riverside adoption attorneys in obtaining the results they seek. Our Southern California family law firm fights hard to make the legal system work for our clients. We understand that the adoption process is emotional for all involved, and we’re here to help. Our attorneys have litigated adoption cases throughout the State of California, including Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties. Call the experienced family law attorneys at Talkov Law at (951) 888-3300 or contact us online for a free consultation about your case. Learn how our experienced adoption attorney, Colleen Sparks, can guide you through the court process in a prompt and clear manner.