Adopting a child brings happiness to families, but a biological parent’s change of heart or an immigration setback can turn a joyous occasion into a stressful ordeal. At Ellen Weinfurtner in Riverside, I have substantial experience handling the complex legal procedures and frustrating red tape of the adoption process for clients throughout California. If you’re looking to add a child to your family, I’m ready to guide you through the process so you can focus on your new family member.
In my Riverside practice, I help clients with the following areas of adoption:
As your family law attorney, I provide reliable counsel throughout the adoption process.
Stories abound about birth parents challenging an adoption after it is finalized. These well-publicized news accounts reflect a real fear for adoptive parents. The suffering associated with a badly handled adoption affects everybody involved — the adoptive parents, the birth parents and the children who are caught in the middle. I ensure that both the birth and adoptive parents’ rights are respected so that the end result is a final adoption that cannot be challenged. I substantiate that the birth parents consent to the adoption freely and voluntarily to avoid claims of fraud, duress and coercion that can be grounds for restoring a birth parent’s rights.
The biological father has the same parental rights as the biological mother, especially if he is named in the state’s putative father registry and has provided support for the child. Fathers who are active in their children’s lives are generally opposed to adoption, whereas uninterested fathers are usually content to surrender parental rights voluntarily to be free from support obligations. When a father resists the idea of adoption, a court might terminate the father’s parental rights if the father is an unfit parent and severing the parent-child relationship is in the best interests of the child. I take all necessary steps to identify fathers and obtain their consent, or, when necessary and proper, litigate the matter of the father’s fitness.
An open adoption agreement permits the biological family to maintain a relationship with the child. The terms of the agreement are established by written contract and can include any level of involvement ranging from regular visits to yearly snapshots exchanged by mail. A closed adoption protects the identity of the biological parents and the child but may include disclosure of essential information such as the child’s heritage and medical history. Whichever type of adoption you choose, I meticulously draft a contract that reflects the terms of your adoption.
International adoptions present unique challenges. Also called intercountry adoptions, the process involves a complex web of laws and policies, including those of California, the United States, U.S. immigration, the child’s country of birth and the Hague Adoption Convention. I remain by your side through every step to avoid potential problems and smooth the process. My goal is to help you bring your child home as soon as legally possible.
Adoption has the potential to bring your family great joy, but only if you overcome legal impediments. At Ellen Weinfurtner in Riverside, California, I provide dependable legal services for adoptions in California. Call 951-684-2130 or contact my office online to schedule a consultation.