Seasoned California Attorneys Help Parents Who Wish to Adopt
Comprehensive legal guidance throughout the adoption process in San Francisco
Adding a child to your family through adoption can be an incredibly rewarding and life-changing experience. Yet navigating the legal system to complete the process can prove frustrating without skilled counsel. At Van Voorhis & Sosna LLP, we deliver sound advice to Californians in open and closed adoptions, stepparent and domestic adoptions, and paternity issues that need to be settled before adoptions can take place. We will guide you through the process so that your goals of adding a new family member can be achieved.
Arranging open and closed adoptions
There are three distinct adoption choices in California for those who wish to place their children for adoption:
- Open — An open adoption involves direct contact between the new family and the birth parents. There is also an exchange of personal and identifying information such as names and addresses.
- Semi-open — Some expectant mothers and families prefer a semi-open adoption where there is restricted contact between the adoptive family and birth parents. In a semi-open adoption, only limited information is exchanged, and interaction is typically mediated via an adoption agency.
- Closed — In a closed adoption, the records of the biological parents are sealed, and the adoptive parents are not in contact with the birth parents.
Our lawyers can review your goals and family dynamic to help you choose the best type of adoption for your situation.
Proceeding with stepparent and domestic adoptions
If you are a stepparent or domestic partner and wish to adopt the other party’s child, our attorneys can assist you with the adoption process. First, you must be legally married or registered as domestic partners. If either criterion is met, we can guide you through the following steps:
- Fill out and submit court forms — We can help you acquire, complete, and submit the required adoption request, agreement, and order forms to the court clerk.
- Obtain consent from the child — Children 12 and older must agree to the adoption.
- Receive consent from the other parent — The child’s other birth parent must also agree to the adoption for it to be legal. However, if the other birth parent has abandoned the child for over a year and failed to pay child support during that time or fails to object to your adoption request, you may not need their consent. A judge may also waive consent if they feel the adoption is in the child’s best interests.
- Complete the interview and investigation — Next, a court investigator, licensed social worker, or licensed family therapist will conduct an interview with the prospective parents.
- Attend the adoption hearing — Our attorneys will represent you at the adoption hearing, ensuring you are prepared and have all relevant paperwork.
Whether you need help filing or fighting for adoption, we work tirelessly to preserve your rights and help you move forward with confidence.
Paternity rights and adoption
In most cases, both parents must formally consent to the adoption of their child before the process can begin, whether those parents are married or not. So a father’s paternity must be established before it can be relinquished. In California, an unwed father’s name will not be added to a child’s birth certificate unless he signs a Declaration of Paternity while the baby is still in the hospital or he signs a form later to establish legal paternity through the courts. If you wish to adopt a child whose parents were not married and you’re concerned about the birth father’s rights, we can help; conversely, if you need to establish paternity to keep your child from being adopted, we can also be of assistance.
Contact a steadfast team of adoption attorneys in California
Van Voorhis & Sosna LLP proudly represents Californians in a wide range of adoption matters. Please call 415-579-0222 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation at our San Francisco office.