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ADOPTION IS DEFINED AS A LEGAL PROCEDURE THAT ESTABLISHES A LAWFUL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A CHILD AND PARENT WHEN THE PARENT INVOLVED IS NOT THE BIRTH OR BIOLOGICAL PARENT. WHEN THE ADOPTION PROCESS IS COMPLETED, THE ADOPTIVE PARENT/PARENTS GET THE LEGAL RIGHTS AS WELL AS RESPONSIBILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH A PARENT-CHILD ASSOCIATION. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHILD AND THE ADOPTIVE PARENT STANDS TO BE PERMANENT AND MIMICS THE RELATIONSHIP SEEN IN A TYPICAL BIRTH FAMILY.

A Simplified Adoption Procedure for Protecting Parentage

The state of California announced new legislation that permits couples (earlier married or legal domestic partners) who have child/children owing to one spouse/partner giving birth, to make use of a streamlined procedure for protecting the rights of the non-birth parent.

The law is only applicable if one out of the two partners/spouses has produced the child. Hence, for parents who have used surrogacy for child birth would need to adopt a different procedure. The new adoption law falls under the Modern Family Act (AB 2344) and became effective on 1stJanuary, 2015.

Under the new law, a non-biological parent would still need to adopt (or court parentage judgment) even if they are married and have their name on the child’s birth certificate. According to the state legislation, having your name on the child’s birth certificate will not necessarily grant you the status of a legal parent.

Although there are several protections offered to non-biological parents under the California law, other states might not have similar provisions. Hence, you would still need to adopt in order to travel safely or shift base from California to another state. This holds true even in those states which advocate marriage equality.

The new adoption law in California has helped in simplifying the process of adoption. You can now request for stepparent adoption by submitting documents in court and the adoption will be granted without the need for a background check, court hearing or home investigation. Under the new law, a judge has the right to order a parent to follow the additional procedures if there is a valid reason for the same.

Getting a New Birth Certificate

The Court Report of Adoption (VS 44) is considered to be the official form utilized by courts for reporting adoptions to key record offices. It is illegal for State Registrars to make new birth certificates for adopted children till an attested Court Report of Adoption has been received.

Once the adoption papers have been received, the CDPH-VR (California Department of Public Health) will work to make a new birth certificate for the adopted child and offer a certified copy free of charge (the fee for the certified copy is part of the court payment that was made when the petition for adoption was filed).

Adopting parents may also request the CDPH-VR separately for extra birth certificate copies after CDPHVR has granted the new child birth certificate. Parents can also fill in the application form available on the official CDPH website.

Important Forms to be Filed for Adoption

A simplified adoption can be executed by getting necessary forms provided by California courts. The ADOPT-050-INFO offers a comprehensive list of forms needed along with the instructions for filling out each of them (link to get the form: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adopt050info.pdf).

It is important to note that every court offers guidance through a self-help center or family law facilitator. These services will help you review your filled forms and will also explain various court procedures in case you don’t have a lawyer on board. However, no legal advice will be offered at the center or by the family law facilitator.

Shulman Family Law Group

Maya Shulman, Esq.

SFLG