adoption

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SECOND-PARENT ADOPTIONS ARE ALSO SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS ‘CO-PARENT ADOPTIONS’.

 

Who Should Go for Second-Parent Adoption in California?

In this type of adoption, the biological or legally adopted child of one partner gets adopted by the non-legal or non-biological second parent (applicable to same-sex and heterosexual partners).

 

The legal parent gives his/her consent to the second-parent adoption and there is no change in the rights and duties of that parent. Second-parent adoption is quite different from traditional adoption. An idividual gets the opportunity for adoption even if he/she is not the child’s biological parent. This type of adoption is common among same-sex partners who may not be married or legal domestic partners.

 

Who Can File For Second-Parent Adoption?

In the state of California, anybody who does the active parenting for a child can file for a petition in the court to get legal rights. As mentioned earlier, same-sex couples are among the most common category of people to undertake second-parent adoption. However, you may also find close friends and family members wanting to file for second-parent adoption in case the single parent gives consent for the same. Typically, a child’s best interest is kept in mind in matters of second-parent adoption. In fact, the state of California now gives permission for a child’s birth certificate to have three parents if it is in the best interest of the child.

 

For those who aren’t legal/registered domestic partners or married partners, second-parent adoption is a brilliant way to enjoy the joys of parenthood. This is especially true for those living in states such as California where second-parent adoption is legally permissible.

 

Same-sex couples are often encouraged to consider this option. This is because if they decide to move to a different state which does not consider same-sex marriage to be legal, no recognition will be given to the legal duties and rights of the second parents with regards to adoption.

 

Benefits Of Second-Parent Adoption

It is important to understand that a second-parent adoption does not terminate the legal relationship between the child and the biological parent. Yet, the second parent enjoys all rights and duties associated with parenting in the state of California.

 

In a second-parent adoption, the child is able to enjoy both emotional and financial stability. It allows for an easier transition in the event that there is a mishap with the biological parent. In such a situation, the child would need the complete support of another parent.

 

Another advantage of second-parent adoption is that guardianship procedures are unnecessary when there is a second legal parent to take care of the child. Inheritance rights may also be affected by adoption and this can benefit the child as well as the state. How? It eliminates the possibility of a child acquiring a ‘dependent’ status.

 

The most critical aspect of adoption, whether standard or second-parent, is that the child’s best interest needs to be kept in the forefront of the process. This includes his/her safety and overall well-being. For instance, in case the child ends up in a life-threatening medical situation, wherein a quick decision must be taken, the second-parent adoption could actually help save the child since second-parents have the right to take medical decisions.

 

The Second-Parent Adoption Procedure

The process for second-parent adoption is quite simple. Once the legal/biological parents give consent, you need to file a petition in the court. This will be followed by a private or public agency social worker doing a complete investigation on the adoption case (including fingerprinting, parent and child interviews, getting letters of recommendation and other procedures). A full investigation report will be written and submitted to the court by the social workers and a court hearing will be scheduled for the adoption.

Shulman Family Law Group

Maya Shulman, Esq.

SFLG

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ADOPTION IS DEFINED AS A LEGAL PROCEDURE THAT ESTABLISHES A LAWFUL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A CHILD AND PARENT WHEN THE PARENT INVOLVED IS NOT THE BIRTH OR BIOLOGICAL PARENT. WHEN THE ADOPTION PROCESS IS COMPLETED, THE ADOPTIVE PARENT/PARENTS GET THE LEGAL RIGHTS AS WELL AS RESPONSIBILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH A PARENT-CHILD ASSOCIATION. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHILD AND THE ADOPTIVE PARENT STANDS TO BE PERMANENT AND MIMICS THE RELATIONSHIP SEEN IN A TYPICAL BIRTH FAMILY.

 

A Simplified Adoption Procedure for Protecting Parentage

The state of California announced new legislation that permits couples (earlier married or legal domestic partners) who have child/children owing to one spouse/partner giving birth, to make use of a streamlined procedure for protecting the rights of the non-birth parent.

 

The law is only applicable if one out of the two partners/spouses has produced the child. Hence, for parents who have used surrogacy for child birth would need to adopt a different procedure. The new adoption law falls under the Modern Family Act (AB 2344) and became effective on 1stJanuary, 2015.

 

Under the new law, a non-biological parent would still need to adopt (or court parentage judgment) even if they are married and have their name on the child’s birth certificate. According to the state legislation, having your name on the child’s birth certificate will not necessarily grant you the status of a legal parent.

 

Although there are several protections offered to non-biological parents under the California law, other states might not have similar provisions. Hence, you would still need to adopt in order to travel safely or shift base from California to another state. This holds true even in those states which advocate marriage equality.

 

The new adoption law in California has helped in simplifying the process of adoption. You can now request for stepparent adoption by submitting documents in court and the adoption will be granted without the need for a background check, court hearing or home investigation. Under the new law, a judge has the right to order a parent to follow the additional procedures if there is a valid reason for the same.

 

Getting a New Birth Certificate

The Court Report of Adoption (VS 44) is considered to be the official form utilized by courts for reporting adoptions to key record offices. It is illegal for State Registrars to make new birth certificates for adopted children till an attested Court Report of Adoption has been received.

 

Once the adoption papers have been received, the CDPH-VR (California Department of Public Health) will work to make a new birth certificate for the adopted child and offer a certified copy free of charge (the fee for the certified copy is part of the court payment that was made when the petition for adoption was filed).

 

Adopting parents may also request the CDPH-VR separately for extra birth certificate copies after CDPHVR has granted the new child birth certificate. Parents can also fill in the application form available on the official CDPH website.

 

Important Forms to be Filed for Adoption

A simplified adoption can be executed by getting necessary forms provided by California courts. The ADOPT-050-INFO offers a comprehensive list of forms needed along with the instructions for filling out each of them (link to get the form:   http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adopt050info.pdf).

 

It is important to note that every court offers guidance through a self-help center or family law facilitator. These services will help you review your filled forms and will also explain various court procedures in case you don’t have a lawyer on board. However, no legal advice will be offered at the center or by the family law facilitator.

 

Shulman Family Law Group

Maya Shulman, Esq.

SFLG

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THE TERM ‘ADOPTION’ REFERS TO A LEGAL PROCEDURE THAT INVOLVES THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A LAWFUL PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP IN THE SCENARIO WHEN THE PARTY ADOPTING THE CHILD IS NOT THEIR BIRTH/BIOLOGICAL PARENT. THE FINALIZATION OF ADOPTION IMPLIES THAT THE ADOPTING PARENT(S) HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES TYPICALLY ASSOCIATED WITH A PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP.

 

All states in the US have certain laws that decide on an individual or couple’s eligibility to adopt a child. As far as the laws and regulations in California are concerned, parents looking to adopt need to be at least ten years older in age to the child (there are exceptions for relative and step-parent adoptions). Further, adoptive parents need to participate in a home investigation which includes a thorough criminal background check, before they can adopt a child in California.

The different types of adoptions in California include the following:

 

  • Agency AdoptionsAgency adoptions are the most common adoptions seen in California. This kind of adoption may be done through a private or public adoption agency or even through a California Department of Social Services office. In such adoptions, the biological parents of the child have given up their official parental rights through a court order or by filing a relinquishment. The adoption agency then gets the legal responsibility for child care. A detailed investigation of the adopting parents is done by the agency before a final approval for the adoption is given.As far as the agency adoption process is concerned, your chosen private or public agency will likely guide you through the steps of adoption

 

  • Independent Adoptions: This is the second common adoption choice in California. An independent adoption usually involves the adoption of a healthy infant whose biological parents continue to retain complete legal responsibility till the court finalizes the adoption. It is the court, and not an agency, that grants the adoption. The biological parents take the decision regarding who will adopt the child. But they need to be provided with all the information related to their rights, options and responsibilities before taking the decision.

 

Some of the important steps included in such an adoption are:

1. Petition to Adopt

2. Investigation and Recommendations given to the Court

 

  • Intercountry AdoptionsIn the third type of adoption in California, prospective parents may adopt from a foreign country. It is important to know that children adopted via this method need to qualify for certain immigration visas mandated by the federal government. Further, these children must be classified as orphans by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. In California, adoptive parents typically “re-adopt” the child post international adoption. The procedure generally involves a minimum of one home-visit (after placement) in addition to a foreign adoption review by the state court. Adoptive parents would also need to submit some necessary documents in order to complete the re-adoption process.

 

These include:

1. A Petition for adoption

2. Attested translations of all official documents related to the foreign adoption

3. The home investigation report

4. Accounting reports

5. Final Order for adoption

 

The general procedure for all adoptions in California is as follows (in brief):

 

1. Filling out of court forms (Adoption Request, Adoption Order, Adoption Expenses) and other special and/or local forms

2. Reviewing of forms filled

3. Making copies of forms

4. Submitting forms to the court clerk

5. Setting up an investigation and interview (with investigator)

6. Request for a court date

7. Be present for the adoption court hearing

Note: Procedures will vary depending on the adoption route selected.

Shulman Family Law Group

Maya Shulman, Esq.

SFLG

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If you’re looking to adopt a foster child and became a foster parent in California, then the state will provide you with all necessary resources needed to parent a foster child effectively.

 

It is important to understand that a foster parent takes up the responsibility of providing temporary care to a child when they are removed from their natural family. Such kids are usually separated from their biological family because there might be concerns regarding their safety and well-being. The primary interest of the state is the foster child’s welfare. Therefore, it will undertake a thorough assessment of your residence in order to ensure that you have the means to provide care to the child.

 

If you’ve decided to become a foster parent while living in California, you would need to undergo a comprehensive education and training process along with extensive background checks before getting approval for foster child care.

 

According to the guidelines issued by the state of California, a parent may own or rent a home as long as it is safe and offers sufficient space to accommodate all family members. The most important requirement for adoption is that the child is given a lot of love, guidance and support.

 

Home Requirements Set by State Government in California

While there may not be very strict regulations regarding renting/ownership of property for foster parents, there are a set of requirements which the state would want to check before giving an approval for foster childcare. These include the following:

 

-A bedroom shall not be shared by more than 2 children.

-Opposite sex children shall not be put in the same bedroom.

-A bedroom cannot be utilized as a passageway to any other room in the house.

-Each child needs to have their own personal bed with clean linens and a mattress. There should be an appropriate distance between beds. Cribs or bassinets need to be arranged for infants.

-An all-purpose room cannot be used as a bedroom, e.g. an attic converted into a bedroom or a garage converted into a bedroom.

-Each child should have appropriate closet or drawer space inside his or her bedroom.

-Parents must take all necessary steps to ensure safety in home areas such as pools, kitchens and fireplaces.

-There should be proper disposal /storage of all waste in the house.

-The home should be installed with functional sprinklers and/or smoke detectors.

 

Broadly speaking, the responsibility of a foster parent is to provide a safe, stable and loving temporary environment for the foster child/children. They take care of the child till the issues with the biological parents get resolved.

 

Licensing Requirements for a Foster Parent

In California, the state identifies several different kinds of foster homes that offer varied care and services to children. An emergency foster home, for example, will provide temporary care to children under the age of 12 years when they are at a direct risk of staying in their natural home. The parents working in such foster care home are in direct contact with social workers so that they can analyze and stabilize the child’s requirements over a period of 59 days.

 

You will naturally require a license to become a foster parent in California. For this process, a licensing official will come to your house to meet you and your family members. As mentioned earlier, the law mandates minimum space and personal safety requirements. A foster parent will work in close association with members of a social service agency in order to decide what type of foster child is most suitable for their specific home situation.

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