The Process of Adult Adoption in California

California Adult Adoption Process

The adult adoption process in California can be confusing. The laws regarding the matter require a person to engage in a multiple step process in order to complete their adoption. The process can be complicated and daunting to anyone unfamiliar with regular court proceedings. This can be a challenge for individuals simply seeking to unite their family under the law.

Completing The Required Paperwork For An Adult Adoption

There are multiple documents necessary for the adult adoption process to take place. This can become confusing for individuals unfamiliar with the court system. The documents are also filed or signed at different points in the adult adoption process and are prepared on special court paper known as "pleading" paper.

Required Documents For Filing

The documents required to file for an adult adoption include:

  • Adoption Agreement: An adoption agreement is a legal document stating that the parties involved in the adult adoption agree to enter a legal relationship of parent and child, and agree to uphold all responsibilities, duties, and rights of a parent and child relationship with one another.
  • Petition for Approval of Adoption Agreement: This petition is a formal request to the court for an approval of the Adoption Agreement. Typically this document must contain specifics for the adoption paperwork, including the age of both parties, the nature of their relationship, the length of their relationship, and the reasons why the parties are seeking an adoption. The reasoning must also outline why the adoption would be in the best interest of both of the parties involved.
  • Order of Adoption: The order of adoption is presented at a hearing. The judge will sign this after the hearing.
  • Spousal Consent: If either the adoptee or the adoptive parent is married, they will need the consent of their spouse for the adoption. An attorney can help your spouse prepare the necessary paperwork for the consent to take place.

The court will likely require that a person proceeds with the original, and a certain number of extra copies, depending on where the copies are being filed. This can vary depending on a person's location.

Obtaining A Court Report of Adoption (VS-44 Form)

The VS-44 is a form required for any adoption, adult adoption included. The court will complete the form and provide it to the Office of Vital Records. Many courts in California provide the form directly to the prospective adoptive parents, however, it can also be ordered by making a mail request to the Office of Vital Records at the California Department of Health. The form must be an original, and cannot be downloaded from the internet.

Filing Documents

When it comes time to file, a person must make a filing of their Petition for Approval of Adoption Agreement, with the necessary Spousal Consent and any other pertinent evidence documents. In addition, a person must file their blank VS-44 along with these documents. The documents can be filed in either the adoptive parent's county or the adoptee's county. However, filing fees and the amount of copies needed will vary depending on the county. After the filing has taken place, a person will have a court date scheduled for a hearing.

Adoption Hearing

The adoption hearing is a crucial meeting between the parties involved and a judge. At this meeting, the judge will ask the parties involved what their reasoning is behind their desire for their adult adoption. The judge will examine the reasoning in their petition and will ask questions of the parties involved to form an opinion on whether or not the adoption should be granted. At this stage, an attorney can be incredibly helpful. Court proceedings can be confusing and sometimes intimidating without an attorney.

Filing The Order Of Adoption And Amending The Birth Certificate

After the hearing, once the judge has signed the Order of Adoption, the order can be filed with the court. A court clerk will likely be able to provide certified copies of the Order of Adoption for record keeping purposes. Once the adoption is finalized, the court will submit the VS-44 form to the Office of Vital Records to complete the process. On the VS-44 a person can also request that the adult's birth certificate be amended to reflect the adoption. The Office of Vital records may have a long processing time before a birth certificate is amended.

California Adult Adoption Attorney

Filing for adult adoption in California can be a lengthy and confusing process. The guidance of an attorney throughout this process can simplify and potentially speed along a person's path to finalizing their adoption. We can help you and your family move on to the next stage in your life. We provide guidance during filing processes, as well as representation for hearings. If you or a loved one is considering an adult adoption contact us today.