Ventura Adoption Attorney for Same-Sex Couples
For many same-sex couples, adoption is a necessary step toward having children. Other options such as assisted reproductive technologies or surrogacy might seem like they also require adoption, but California law may actually help same-sex couples become legal parents without requiring the additional steps of adopting your spouse’s biological child.
It is an unfortunate reality that there may be legal roadblocks to your adoption case if you are in a same-sex relationship, but our attorneys may be able to help move your case along and guide you through the process. For help with your adoption, call the Ventura adoption attorneys for same-sex couples at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our attorneys offer free legal consultations on new cases. Call us today to schedule your consultation at (805) 643-5555.
Adoption for Same-Sex Couples in California
The laws of California are some of the most gay-friendly laws in the country. Adoption laws in California set very few statutory requirements for prospective parents, and none of these requirements would automatically block same-sex couples from adopting. Additionally, guarantees of non-discrimination in adoption help gay and lesbian couples adopt regardless of their gender or affectional orientation.
Despite the access to adoptions for LGBTQ couples, California adoption laws are still complex and difficult to navigate. Many couples face difficulties in seeking adoption and could face an uphill battle proving that they are good candidates for adoption.
Hiring an attorney can help you set yourself up for success in an adoption case. Our attorneys are experienced in understanding what the courts and the State of California look for in adoption candidates, and we can help you prepare for background checks, home visits, and court hearings on your fitness to adopt. Our lawyers can also help negotiate your case as a go-between between you and the adoption agency, private individual giving their child up for adoption, or other groups and individuals giving the child over.
If you are trying to adopt internationally, the process becomes much more complex, and hiring an attorney can help eliminate hang-ups and legal difficulties, helping you get the child you want and moving ahead with your new family.
Do Same Sex-Couples Need to Adopt Their Spouse’s Biological Child?
Many same-sex couples choose to use surrogacy or a sperm donor to give them a child that is biologically theirs. Other couples come into the relationship with their own biological children that they have from previous relationships or previous marriages. Many couples expect that they will need to adopt their spouse’s biological child (their stepchild), but in many cases California law eliminates that need. Your attorney can help guide you through the legal standards and help you determine whether you will need to adopt your spouse’s biological child.
Parentage in Surrogacy and Donor Cases
In California, the law assumes that the spouse of a biological mother is the parent of the child. For straight couples, this means that the father is automatically considered the child’s father and there is no need to prove paternity before having their name placed on the birth certificate and sharing custody of the child. Married lesbian couples can also take advantage of this law since the language of Family Code § 7611 discusses parentage in gender-neutral terms, giving parental rights to the mother’s “spouse.”
Difficulties may arise in cases of surrogacy. Since neither parent is married to the surrogate, a gay couple may not be able to take advantage of laws that automatically grant the parent’s spouse the same parental rights as the mother. Instead, intended parents may need to form a surrogacy agreement with the surrogate (also known as a “gestational carrier”). Under these agreements, the intended parents, whether married or unmarried, may be able to form an agreement with the surrogate to place themselves as the birth parents on the child’s birth certificate.
Similar agreements can be formed in other donor agreements if the intended parents are not married. This would allow same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, to be their child’s official, legal parents, even if they did not contribute their DNA to the child. It also allows parents to blindly contribute their DNA to the child without knowledge of which parent’s DNA was used and still maintain legal parentage.
Stepchild Adoption for Same-Sex Couples
If you have a child from a previous relationship, your spouse can adopt that child through a stepparent adoption. These are often quicker and easier than individual adoptions and can be a quick route to becoming the legal parent of your spouse’s child. This will replace the child’s birth parent as the lawful parent and even allow you to amend the child’s birth certificate. This ensures that should either parent pass away, their spouse will be entitled to child custody as if they were the child’s natural parent.
If you are not married, you may also be able to adopt your significant other’s child. However, this will not allow you to use the exact same process as in a stepchild adoption since that process requires the spouses to be married. However, your attorney can guide you through the process of having any other biological parents release their parental rights and allow you to step in as the child’s adoptive parent.
If you might move to another state at some point, you may also want to perform a stepchild adoption to ensure you have a court order that will stand up to legal questioning in other states with less protective LGBT laws.
Call the Ventura LGBT Adoption Attorneys for a Free Legal Consultation on Your Case
If you are in a same-sex relationship, whether you are married or not, California law allows you to adopt your significant other’s child or otherwise legally adopt and share children with your partner. For help determining whether adoption is necessary and how to legally share children with your partner, call the Ventura same-sex adoption lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today at (805) 643-5555.