2018 Guide to Adoption for Same Sex Couples in California
LGBT couples in California have all the same rights to adopt as any other parent. Whether you are single, married, or dating, California law allows you to seek an adoption to expand your family. However, there are plenty of complications that can arise in any adoption case, and there are multiple steps to the adoption process.
For help with your adoption case, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our Ventura adoption lawyers help LGBT spouses, couples, and individuals adopt children and complete their families. To schedule a free consultation on your case, contact our law offices today at (805) 585-5056.
Options for LGBT Parents to Adopt in CA
In California, there are multiple ways to adopt. One of the most common ways that LGBT couples adopt is for one person to adopt their spouse/partner’s children. Especially in cases where one person has children from a previous relationship, their partner may not have legal rights to be that child’s “parent.” Many same-sex parents adopt their partner or spouse’s children. This is usually an option, whether the adults are married or not.
Second, LGBT parents may seek adoption from a pregnant mother or by using surrogacy or in vitro fertilization (IVF). When adopting from a pregnant woman who wants to give the child up for adoption, things can be complicated. Agencies may match expectant women with potential couples, but there are many chances for the birth mother to change her mind and potentially back out of the agreement, or for the biological father to assert rights over the child. In cases of surrogacy and IVF, one of the intended parents is usually the biological parent. There are multiple ways to establish their spouse or partner as the other legal parent, potentially without the same extensive adoption procedures.
Third, same-sex couples may adopt someone else in one of their families. Nieces, nephews, cousins, or others in the family may need better homes than their parents can provide. These cases are often less complicated if the biological parents willingly agree to the adoption, but things can become difficult if they change their minds or fight the adoption.
Lastly, classic adoption is always an option. Seeking a child through an adoption agency is how thousands of families are brought together across California every year. In CA, you can adopt through an agency in-state, out-of-state, or even in another country. These processes often take different amounts of time, with international adoptions usually taking the longest. Especially if the country of origin requires you to appear in person for court proceedings, meetings, and education, it is important to allow the time necessary to ensure you get the adoption.
These adoptions are all legal options for same-sex couples and individuals. There is no requirement that you are married to legally apply for adoption in California.
The Adoption Process for Gay and Lesbian Couples
The primary requirement that you must meet to adopt in California is to be 10 years older than the person you are seeking to adopt. However, this law does not always apply when adopting your spouse’s child or other members of your family. Other than that, you must follow procedures and processes laid out by CA law and the court system.
When applying for adoption through an agency, you must pass certain checks before you are given the okay to adopt. In some private adoptions, these rules may not always apply, but it is important to check with an attorney about the specifics of your case. First, you must usually pass a background check to prove that you are a suitable parent. In addition, the courts will arrange for a social worker to schedule a home visit and investigate your home life. They may require you to fix certain problems, such as ensuring that dangerous wiring, exposed nails, or other construction issues are repaired. They may also request you begin using child-safe electrical outlet covers, cabinet locks, and other common household devices to ensure kids will be safe and comfortable in your home.
If there are problems meeting these requirements, you may be given time to correct issues. More complex issues may require an attorney to intervene, especially if you were denied for discriminatory reasons. Public adoption agencies are required to judge adoption petitions equally and are not permitted to discriminate based on your sexual/affectional orientation, marital status, or other discriminatory factors. However, private or religious adoption networks may discriminate on the basis of religious objections. Talk to an attorney if you face any resistance or discrimination during the approval process.
Once you are approved for the adoption, there are various fees to pay – and you need to find your child. This process can take some time, especially if you are adopting from another state or another country. Talk to an attorney for help understanding when things are moving too slowly and for help moving things along.
Our Same-Sex Adoption Attorneys Offer Free Consultations in Ventura, CA
If you are in a same-sex relationship and you and your partner or spouse are looking to adopt in California, contact our law offices today to discuss your case. Our LBGT adoption attorneys work to help families grow and achieve their dreams of being parents. For help with your case, contact The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today at (805) 585-5056.