If you’re planning to take a child into your home through the private adoption process, then you’re likely well aware that the child’s biological parents must first relinquish their parental rights before you can do so.
Each state is unique in its handling of this “consent” process.
Why do consent requirements for adoptions exist?
One of the primary reasons why consents exist is to provide parents with a way to willfully sign over their rights to a biological child. This protects both the rights of the biological parents and the interests of the adoptive parents.
While some jurisdictions’ laws allow someone to sign over their parental rights before their child’s birth, they may require them to reaffirm their commitment to the adoption afterward, as well. These same laws may require a caseworker or attorney to explain the implications of a parent signing over their parental rights and an enforced waiting period before final paperwork can be completed. In some instances, a court-appointed guardian can sign consent forms for the adoption in place of the parents.
Many government or third-party agencies see the consent as proof that they didn’t unilaterally take the child away from their parents or caregivers without cause. Consents also provide adoptive parents with the comfort in knowing that a parent willfully signed over their right and that a child can officially become their own.
What does the consent process entail?
Virtually every jurisdiction requires a government or private agency or the child’s biological parents to sign a legal document in front of a notary and witnesses consenting to a child’s adoption. Some jurisdictions require a parent or guardian to sign this consent document in the presence of a judge, though.
What role does an attorney play in the adoption process?
Your decision to take on the responsibility of raising a child who was looking for a forever home is an admirable one. You owe it to yourself to ensure that all aspects of this process are handled correctly, including procuring the necessary consents.
An attorney knowledgeable about California’s adoption laws can ensure that you take the proper steps to solidify your parental rights to your child here in Sonoma County.