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#542 Adopting a child independently

mp3 #542 Adopting a Child Independently (mp3 file)

Family Law matters are very complex. Many who try to handle these matters on their own quickly find themselves overwhelmed and out of favor with the courts. Often times costs are cited as the reason for self representation. However, most people with assets and retirement plans stand to lose significant amounts of money, or worse, custody of their children if they are not properly represented. Continue here to be referred to an experienced and insured Family Law attorney:

An independent adoption is one in which an adoption agency is not employed. A home is found for the child by the natural parent or parents. No other unlicensed person or organization can do this. No payment can be made to the natural mother, but often the adopting parents pay the medical and hospital bills of the mother.

Adopting parents usually hire an attorney to represent them. The natural parent may also wish to consult an attorney. In an adoption, the adopting party is completely substituted for the natural parent. The child takes the family name of the adopting parents and the new family unit is exactly the same as though the child had been born into it.

The adoption starts only after the birth of the child by filing a petition for adoption with the superior court in the county in which the adopting parents reside. The department of social services makes an investigation and reports its findings and recommendation to the court. The adopting parents must supply the department with certified copies of the child's birth certificate, their marriage certificate, and proof of termination of any former marriages. Health information concerning the adopting parents and the child will also be requested. Interviews are held with the adopting parents and the natural parents. The department requires the adopting parents to be fingerprinted and will obtain any criminal record they may have. Fees for fingerprinting and the department's social investigation are usually paid by the adopting parents. The total investigation should be completed in about six months, or sooner.

Usually the most critical aspect of an adoption is obtaining the consents of the natural parents. The consents must be given freely, and must be signed in the presence of certain officials. There are situations where consent may not be necessary from both parents. For example, if the mother does not know the identity or whereabouts of the father, or if a Court has determined that the child is free from parental control by reason of abandonment, such consent would not be required. The law requires that a natural parent must be advised by the department of social services that he or she may, at any time in the future, request from the department all known information about the status of the adoption. The law also requires the department to inform the birth parents and adopting parents that it is in the child's best interest that the birth parent keep the department informed of any health problems that the parent develops that could affect the child, and that it is extremely important for the birth parent to keep the department informed of a current address to facilitate a response to questions about medical or social history. The adopted child has the right at age 21 to request the name and address of the birth parent. The birth parent has the option to refuse to disclose this information to the child. Likewise, an adopted child can consent or refuse to reveal his identity and current address to the birth parent if an inquiry is made.

When all necessary consents have been obtained and the investigation has been completed, the adopting parents and the child must appear before a judge in a private hearing. The adopting parents must sign a consent in the presence of the judge stating that they will treat the child as their own natural child, with all the rights and obligations of a natural parent, including the right of inheritance. They must also submit an accounting which sets forth all the expenses incurred in connection with the adoption. If the court approves the adoption, a new birth certificate will be issued which contains no reference to the adoption or to the natural parents of the child.

The law concerning adoptions may be found in the California Civil Code, sections 221 through 230.8. Because of the technicalities of independent adoptions, for the protection of the child and your own interests, it is most important to have proper legal counsel.

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