The family law attorneys at Morgan Law Firm provide experienced, aggressive representation in a wide range of family law matters, including in connection with:
Several types of adoptions commonly occur in California. In a stepparent adoption, the spouse of a child’s parent legally adopts the child. In this case, the stepparent will be investigated by a social worker or family therapist, and then participate in court proceedings. The child’s birth parent must receive notice of the action and generally must consent to the adoption. If the other parent does not consent, a stepparent may still be able to complete an adoption in a number of circumstances, such as if the other parent has abandoned the child and has not paid any child support or seen or talked to the child for over a year. If the child is twelve years of age or older, he or she must also consent to the adoption.
A person wishing to adopt a child who is not a stepparent can pursue an agency adoption, an independent adoption, or an international adoption. These processes are more complicated than the stepparent adoption, and require the court to end the parental rights of both of the child’s biological parents.
Grandparent Adoption and Visitation
Grandparents may also sometimes wish to adopt a child, particularly in cases where one or both parents are deceased, or where the non-deceased parent is abusive. Grandparents may also seek a court order granting visitation rights, which are typically granted where the grandparents have a close existing relationship with the child or where the parents are deceased and the child has been adopted by a stepparent or the other set of grandparents.
A guardianship is a court proceeding wherein someone who is not the child’s parent is appointed custody of a child and/or the power to manage the child’s property. Guardianships are commonly granted where the child’s parents are deceased, or in cases where a child’s parents are unable to care for him or her because of a serious physical illness, incarceration, military service, or a history of abuse. In appointing a legal guardian, the court will commonly appoint surviving family members, such as grandparents, depending on the best interests of the child.