Families come in many shapes and sizes. More and more Americans are not letting the fact that they do not have a spouse or a partner get in the way of their dreams of being a parent. In many cases, adoption is not limited to married couples, and you may be able to adopt on your own. This process is called “individual adoption” in California. Many adoptions by single people are more complex and could suffer from instances of discrimination and unjustified rejections. If you are single and looking to adopt, talk to a Ventura adoption attorney at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today.
Do You Need to Be Married to Adopt in CA?
California law allows many people to adopt. CA law has very few requirements for adoption, the most important of which is that you must be 10 years older than the person you are adopting. Even this requirement can be waived when adopting stepchildren and other family members. Without many requirements, you are often free to adopt in CA.
Marriage is not a requirement for adoption. In fact, only allowing married parents to adopt could be construed as discrimination based on marital status. Therefore there is no requirement that you need to be married to adopt in California. If you are legally “single,” you can adopt.
Do You Need to Be in a Relationship to Adopt in CA?
California law is open to allowing people to make their own decisions and understands that not everyone sees a relationship as a necessary prerequisite for parenthood. There are thousands of children in California – and millions across the world – looking for adoptive parents. In order to help these children and people seeking to be parents, there is no requirement that you need to be in a relationship to adopt.
Single people can legally adopt in California. CA’s laws do not permit courts or social workers to deny your adoption request because you live alone or because you are single. However, being single does have some effect on your fitness as a parent that they may legally consider. Especially if you work most of the day, the courts and social workers that investigate adoption requests may consider you to have less free time you can put toward parenting. The ability to provide child care by hiring a nanny or getting help from a close family member (e.g., your parent) can often alleviate these concerns.
If a court or a social worker tells you that you cannot adopt because you do not have a partner, this is legally inaccurate. You should immediately consult with an attorney to help you fight your case and adopt your future child.
Individual Adoption Issues that Require a Lawyer
Technically, no legal issues ever require a lawyer. However, complex legal issues often arise in family law cases, especially in adoption cases. It is important to take your case to a lawyer if you come up against resistance or need help ensuring that you get the outcome you intended.
Adoption cases often have many legal complications that an attorney can help you with. Some of them are inherent in the system and arise from different government bodies trying to cooperate. Especially if you are adopting from out of state or from another country, there may be complicated legal hurdles to overcome, including a requirement to “re-adopt” in the State of California.
Other legal issues with adoption arise with the birth parents. In many adoption cases, you may work with the birth mother while she is pregnant, work with a surrogate parent (in which case you may not need to adopt), or adopt directly from the birth parents. If any of these parties get cold feet and want to reject the adoption, it may be difficult to get them to change their mind. You can form many agreements with these parties can help ensure that you achieve a finalized adoption by the end of the process.
Additional complications may arise if another parent appears to make claims on their child. For instance, if a single mother puts her child up for adoption or if a pregnant woman agrees that you may adopt her child, a birth father’s sudden appearance may complicate issues. In these cases, you may need to have a judge sever that father’s parental custody rights so that you can adopt.
Ventura Divorce Attorneys Offer Free Consultations for Single Adults Seeking to Adopt
It is best to work with an attorney from the beginning of your adoption case. Doing so can help ensure that you have all the resources and agreements you need in place to put you in the best position to successfully complete the adoption process. For help with your adoption case, contact the Ventura family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today at (805) 585-5056.