Sometimes an adoption can go very smoothly. Especially if a biological parent does not contest a termination of parental rights. However, there are situations in which a biological parent does not want to relinquish parental rights and the legal process is not as simple. This is one of the many reasons that having an attorney for the entire adoption process is so important. Your rights and your child’s rights are protected and advocated by an experienced family law attorney.
The most common type of adoption in which the adopting party must seek the termination of parental rights from a biological parent is a stepparent adoption. A stepparent is sometimes the only mother or father the child has ever known. However, even if this is the case the biological parent still has parental rights. Even if it has been years since the child has even seen him or her.
When a child has not had contact with the biological parent for over a year, then termination of parental rights can be done rather quickly. If this sounds like your situation, make sure you do not even reach out to the biological parent about the intended adoption right away (wait until you consult with a lawyer). This includes social media. Otherwise, the one year period is over and the time resets.
The first step towards adoption in this case is to petition the court. You are letting the court know of your intentions. There are various paperwork requirements and filings (all which an attorney can help you with). The next step is to actually serve the biological parent with your intention of the adoption. There are additional forms after this and then the actual hearing for termination of parental rights. Keep in mind, this is a very general overview of the adoption process and for your own adoption, you should seek the advice of an attorney.
What complicates matters is when at this hearing the biological parent contests this petition. The judge will then set another hearing date and a Family Court Services Investigator will evaluate both parents and make recommendations at this trial. As you can see, it is very critical that an attorney be able to represent you before, during and after this trial. Help make your adoption process go as smooth as possible by seeking the help of a dedicated adoption lawyer in California.