Adoption Lawyer in Los Angeles
What Laws Govern Adoption in California?
All adoptions in California are governed by laws known as the Family Code. These laws outline the process required for the birth parents to relinquish parental rights, as well as the steps necessary for adoptive parents to become the legal guardians of the child. The laws also address the practicality of a non-marital birth father who is unidentified or uninvolved. According to the California Family Code, the father must come forward and actively object to the adoption in order to retain parental rights to the child or else their rights can be terminated at the same time as the birth mother’s.
What is Independent Adoption?
About 85 percent of adoptions in California involving newborns are done through a process known as independent adoption. This may also be known as private placement. In an independent adoption, the birth parents select the adoptive family and turn the child over to them directly without an agency intermediary. This type of placement is arranged by a family law attorney who specializes in adoptions. Another option is adopting through a licensed adoption agency who will aid in pairing an adoptive family with a child.
How Does a Family Law Attorney Help the Birth Mother?
A family law attorney offers the birth parents much more than just legal advice. A law firm may connect the birth mother with proper prenatal care, adoption counseling, and other support. The attorney also often provides assistance with choosing the best adoptive family for the baby.
An experienced lawyer understands that the adoption process typically goes much more smoothly when the birth parents develop a relationship with the adopting parents, and trust in their ability to properly care for the baby. The attorney will help bolster this relationship, ensuring any concerns the birth mother has are addressed. During this time, the lawyer will also have discussions with both parties to determine what role, if any, the birth mother will continue to play in the child’s life. The agreements reached in these discussions may be used to write a post-adoption contact agreement to ensure the wishes of both parties are respected.
In most cases, the adoptive parents pay expenses related to the pregnancy that are not covered by health insurance. This may include medical bills, counseling, legal fees and even living expenses. An experienced adoption lawyer will be able to advise you on what is typically paid for by the adoptive parents, and what the birth mother must pay for on her own.
How Does an Attorney Assist Adoptive Families?
An experienced attorney plays an active role in every step of the adoption process for families who are adopting a child. This includes:
- Adoption Planning: The attorney will discuss your desires and help you find the type of adoption that will best fit your needs. He will also help you to schedule the required home study and other necessary steps.
- Birth Mother Pairing: The lawyer will use knowledge gleaned from experience to assist you in choosing the best birth mother to fit your unique wishes. He will also provide guidance on meeting with these mothers, and what to ask to ensure you can find the match you are looking for.
- Pre-Placement Preparations: After you have been paired with an expectant birth mother, there are a number of things that must take place in order to assure you can assume custody when the baby is released from the hospital. The attorney will walk you through this process, offering support and advice.
- Placement and Legal Adoption: The final step of adoption is completing all of the legal steps to terminate the parental rights of the birth parents and allow you to formally adopt the baby. This formalization of the agreement typically begins within a few days of the child’s birth, but may last several months. The attorney will provide legal assistance until the adoption is finalized through the courts.
Why Choose an Experienced Adoption Lawyer?
Every year, more adoptions take place in California than in any other state. This means there are more adoptive families and birth mothers looking for legal guidance on the process in California, as well. Choosing an experienced lawyer to help you through the adoption process not only ensures you will have the support and guidance you need, but also offers the best start to this new chapter of your life.
What Other Types of Cases Do Family Law Attorneys Handle?
Family law covers a wide variety of topics, from divorce to children’s law. Attorneys who specialize in adoption often handle cases that involve independent, agency, adult, relative and stepparent adoption. They may also work on cases where guardianship of minors is at question. Other specialities could include surrogacy, assisted reproduction, egg and sperm donors, and cases where sealed adoption records need to be opened.
How Can Land Legal Group Help Our Family?
Land Legal Group, a family law practice in Los Angeles, offers skilled, experienced adoption assistance for both birth parents and adoptive families. Call us today at (310) 552-3500 to learn more.