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 individual 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.