Faith Jansen Law & Mediation

Adoption - Children, Adults

Step-Parent Adoption of a Minor Child

In a step-parent adoption, the step-parent who lives with and is married to a legal custodial parent files a petition in court to have the non-custodial parent’s rights terminated and vested in the step-parent. The Court prefers a petitioning step-parent to have lived in the child’s home and acted in a parental role toward the child for at least a year prior to the filing of the petition. In most cases, the Court will require the non-custodial biological parent to be notified and given the opportunity to consent or object. A private social worker must also be hired to conduct a home study and submit a report to the Court. An Order of Step-Parent Adoption results in a name change and amended birth certificate for the minor child.

Independent Adoption of a Minor Child

In an independent adoption, Ms. Jansen assists the adoptive couple in arranging for the pre-placement counseling of the birth-mother by an Adoption Service Provider (ASP), discharging the baby from the hospital into the custody of the adoptive couple, filing the adoption petition, serving notice on the birth-father and obtaining his consent or waiver of objection, obtaining court orders terminating the parental rights of biological parents and freeing the child for adoption, accounting to the Court for proper adoption related expenses, and appearing at the final court appearance to obtain an Order for Adoption.

Second-Parent Adoption of a Minor Child

In a second parent adoption, the adopting second parent is not married to and does not live with the custodial parent but has acted in the role of a parent toward the child. The non-custodial parent would have to consent or have his or her parental rights terminated by court order. Since second-parent adoptions are not explicitly recognized in any California statutes or case law, the chances for success of such a case depend on the judge having a liberal philosophy toward adoption and on the facts indicating that the adoption would be in the best interests of the child.

Adult Adoption

In an adult adoption, the adopting parent is adopting another adult who is at least ten (10) years younger. Often the adopting parent and adult adoptee are a step-parent and step-child who have chosen to wait until after the child’s 18th birthday because of how much easier the adult adoption process is compared to a minor child adoption; But adult adoptions are not limited to step-parents and step-children. In an adult adoption, the adopting adult and adult adoptee jointly petition the Court. There is no requirement to notify the adult adoptee’s biological parents, obtain written parental consent, or obtain a home study report. After the Order of Adoption is issued by the Court, the adult adoptee may obtain a new birth certificate with the change of name set forth in that order.

Birth-Parent Consultation

In cases in which the adopting couple is represented by other counsel, Ms. Jansen is available to provide legal counsel to a birth-parent during the period of pre-placement counseling overseen by the Adoption Service Provider (ASP) or after a placement agreement has been signed but before a Consent to the adoption form has been signed. The attorney for the adoptive couple generally arranges for the payment of the retainer fee for the provision of legal advice to birth-parents.