Our San Diego same sex adoption attorneys are here to assist with adoption by a domestic partner
There often times can be many hurdles to the adoption process for same sex couples. Luckily, in California, same sex couples may adopt by taking advantage of the domestic partnership laws. The stepparent adoption laws apply to a domestic partner adoption, which is a simpler process than a regular adoption because one of the parents is the birth parent. However, same sex couples wanting to adopt must first register as domestic partners with the state.
Our same sex advocacy attorneys at Minella Law Group have specific expertise with parental rights and the issues faced by same sex couples. We have the skill and knowledge to guide you and your domestic partner through the process of adopting and will ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Registration as a same sex domestic partnership. To be able to adopt as a same sex couple, you must first register with the Secretary of State as domestic partners. The effect is that all registered domestic partners have many of the same rights and responsibilities as other spouses under California state law.
Domestic partnership presumption in California. Regardless of biological connection, California law presumes that a child born into a domestic partnership is the legal child of the couple. Even so, it is a good idea to obtain a court judgment declaring the domestic partners as the legal parents of the child. Domestic partnership law is still very unsettled, even more so federally and in other states. This court judgment in the form of a domestic partnership adoption will ensure that the legal relationship is respected federally and by other states.
Adoption process. In a domestic partnership adoption, the same sex partner of the child’s parent adopts that child and establishes a legal parent-child relationship. Since it follows the process of a stepparent adoption, it is not as complicated and complex and may make parts of the process easier such as shorter waiting periods and less invasive investigation as required in second parent adoptions (adopting when not legally married or in a registered domestic partnership).
Length of domestic partnership. Courts generally prefers that both same sex couple make the petition for adoption at least one year after registration as domestic partners, although this is not required.
Home meeting. In order to protect the best interests of the minor child, the court requires the child and both parents be visited by a social worker. This short meeting is primarily to verify that all information given is correct which will then be submitted to the court with a recommendation.
Other parent’s consent. To become the child’s legal parent, you must obtain consent from the other biological parent. If they will not consent and you want to move forward with the adoption, you must petition the court to terminate that parent’s rights to the child. In addition, your domestic partner must consent to the adoption. If a child is 12 or over, consent to adopt must be given by the child.
Petition to terminate parental rights. Petitioning the court is necessary when a biological parent refuses to consent. In your petition to terminate parental rights, you must prove that the absent biological parent has not exercised their parental rights for a certain amount of time, that they have emotionally or financially abandoned the child or are unfit to be a legal parent.
Upon filing of the petition, a hearing will be set where the court decides whether parental rights should be terminated. Grounds to terminate include abandonment, imprisonment, failure to provide child support, failure to have a meaningful relationship with the child, and the missing parent’s whereabouts are unknown.
Adoption contest. If you are a parent who is against the adoption, we will aggressively represent you in contesting the petition in court by proving that you should remain your child’s legal parent. We have many years of challenging adoption and parental rights and will do everything to assure that you are protected.
After adoption. After finalization of the adoption, the new relationship is considered permanent. You will have the same legal obligations as a biological parent and the other parent generally gives up all rights or obligations to the child. Additionally, you will receive a new birth certificate for your child.