Introduction to Adult Adoption

Introduction to Adult Adoption

There are no Judicial Council forms for Adult Adoption in Los Angeles County.  You’ll have to create the relevant documents on typed 28-line pleading paper.  The documents you’ll need to create and file are the following:

  1. Adoption Agreement
  2. Consent of Spouse of Adopted Person
  3. Consent of Spouse of Adopting Parent
  4. Petition for Approval of Adoption Agreement
  5. Order of Adoption

What is Adult Adoption?

Adult Adoption is a legal procedure where an older adult adopts a younger adult.  In California, the older adult must be at least 10 years older than the younger adult.  Once the adult adoption is complete, the parties have a legal parent-child relationship, including all the rights and responsibilities of such a relationship, including rights of inheritance.

An adult adoption terminates the existing parent-child relationship of the biological mother/father depending on if the adult doing the adopting is taking on the role of mother or father.

What are the Legal Requirements and Procedures?

The procedures for adopting an adult in California are found in the California Family Code §9300-9340.  Anyone considering an adult adoption should read these code sections.

CHAPTER 1. General Provisions [9300 – 9307]

  (a) An adult may be adopted by another adult, including a stepparent, as provided in this part.

(b) A married minor may be adopted in the same manner as an adult under this part.

9301.

A married person who is not lawfully separated from the person’s spouse may not adopt an adult without the consent of the spouse, provided that the spouse is capable of giving that consent.

9302.

(a) A married person who is not lawfully separated from the person’s spouse may not be adopted without the consent of the spouse, provided that the spouse is capable of giving that consent.

(b) The consent of the parents of the proposed adoptee, of the department, or of any other person is not required.

9303.

(a) A person may not adopt more than one unrelated adult under this part within one year of the person’s adoption of an unrelated adult, unless the proposed adoptee is the biological sibling of a person previously adopted pursuant to this part or unless the proposed adoptee is disabled or physically handicapped.

(b) A person may not adopt an unrelated adult under this part within one year of an adoption of another person under this part by the prospective adoptive parent’s spouse, unless the proposed adoptee is a biological sibling of a person previously adopted pursuant to this part.

9304.

A person adopted pursuant to this part may take the family name of the adoptive parent.

9305.

After adoption, the adoptee and the adoptive parent or parents shall sustain towards each other the legal relationship of parent and child and have all the rights and are subject to all the duties of that relationship.

9306.

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), the birth parents of a person adopted pursuant to this part are, from the time of the adoption, relieved of all parental duties towards, and all responsibility for, the adopted person, and have no right over the adopted person.

(b) Where an adult is adopted by the spouse of a birth parent, the parental rights and responsibilities of that birth parent are not affected by the adoption.

9307.

A hearing with regard to adoption under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 9320) or termination of a parent and child relationship under Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 9340) may, in the discretion of the court, be open and public.

 CHAPTER 2. Procedure for Adult Adoption [9320 – 9328]

9320.

(a) An adult may adopt another adult who is younger, except the spouse of the prospective adoptive parent, by an adoption agreement approved by the court, as provided in this chapter.

(b) The adoption agreement shall be in writing, executed by the prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee, and shall state that the parties agree to assume toward each other the legal relationship of parent and child and to have all of the rights and be subject to all of the duties and responsibilities of that relationship.

 9321.

(a) The prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee may file in the county in which either person resides a petition for approval of the adoption agreement.

(b) The petition for approval of the adoption agreement shall state all of the following:

(1) The length and nature of the relationship between the prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee.

(2) The degree of kinship, if any.

(3) The reason the adoption is sought.

(4) A statement as to why the adoption would be in the best interest of the prospective adoptive parent, the proposed adoptee, and the public.

(5) The names and addresses of any living birth parents or adult children of the proposed adoptee.

(6) Whether the prospective adoptive parent or the prospective adoptive parent’s spouse has previously adopted any other adult and, if so, the name of the adult, together with the date and place of the adoption.

 9321.5.

(a) Notwithstanding Section 9321, a person who is a resident of this state may file a petition for adult adoption with the court in any of the following:

(1) The county in which the prospective adoptive parent resides.

(2) The county in which the proposed adoptee was born or resides at the time the petition was filed.

(3) The county in which an office of the public or private agency that placed the proposed adoptee for foster care or adoption as a minor or dependent child is located.

(b) A petitioner who is not a resident of this state may file a petition for adult adoption with the court in a county specified in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a).

 9322.

When the petition for approval of the adoption agreement is filed, the court clerk shall set the matter for hearing.

 9323.

The court may require notice of the time and place of the hearing to be served on any other interested person and any interested person may appear and object to the proposed adoption.

 9324.

Both the prospective adoptive parent and the proposed adoptee shall appear at the hearing in person, unless an appearance is impossible, in which event an appearance may be made for either or both of the persons by counsel, empowered in writing to make the appearance.

 9325.

No investigation or report to the court by any public officer or agency is required, but the court may require the county probation officer or the department to investigate the circumstances of the proposed adoption and report thereon, with recommendations, to the court before the hearing.

 9326.

The prospective adoptive parent shall mail or personally serve notice of the hearing and a copy of the petition to the director of the regional center for the developmentally disabled, established pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 4620) of Division 4.5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and to any living birth parents or adult children of the proposed adoptee, at least 30 days before the day of the hearing on an adoption petition in any case in which both of the following conditions exist:

(a) The proposed adoptee is an adult with developmental disabilities.

(b) The prospective adoptive parent is a provider of board and care, treatment, habilitation, or other services to persons with developmental disabilities or is a spouse or employee of a provider.

 9327.

If the prospective adoptive parent is a provider of board and care, treatment, habilitation, or other services to persons with developmental disabilities, or is a spouse or employee of a provider, and seeks to adopt an unrelated adult with developmental disabilities, the regional center for the developmentally disabled notified pursuant to Section 9326 shall file a written report with the court regarding the suitability of the proposed adoption in meeting the needs of the proposed adoptee and regarding any known previous adoption by the prospective adoptive parent.

 9328.

(a) At the hearing the court shall examine the parties, or the counsel of any party not present in person.

(b) If the court is satisfied that the adoption will be in the best interests of the persons seeking the adoption and in the public interest and that there is no reason why the petition should not be granted, the court shall approve the adoption agreement and make an order of adoption declaring that the person adopted is the child of the adoptive parent. Otherwise, the court shall withhold approval of the agreement and deny the petition.

(c) In determining whether or not the adoption of any person pursuant to this part is in the best interests of the persons seeking the adoption or the public interest, the court may consider evidence, oral or written, whether or not it is in conformity with the Evidence Code.

 CHAPTER 3. Procedure for Terminating Adult Adoption [9340- 9340.]

9340.

(a) Any person who has been adopted under this part may, upon written notice to the adoptive parent, file a petition to terminate the relationship of parent and child. The petition shall state the name and address of the petitioner, the name and address of the adoptive parent, the date and place of the adoption, and the circumstances upon which the petition is based.

(b) If the adoptive parent consents in writing to the termination, an order terminating the relationship of parent and child may be issued by the court without further notice.

(c) If the adoptive parent does not consent in writing to the termination, a written response shall be filed within 30 days of the date of mailing of the notice, and the matter shall be set for hearing. The court may require an investigation by the county probation officer or the department.

If you need any assistance in filing for an adult adoption, please feel free to call Mioni Family Law, APC at (424) 259-1770.  We would be happy to assist you.

How to Have an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement

How to Have an Enforceable Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial (sometimes also called “premarital”) agreements can be very technical and complicated.  I’ve had more than a few clients come to me with a prenuptial agreement from an attorney or Legal Zoom and I’ve had the unfortunate role of telling them that something is wrong with their prenuptial agreement and for one reason or another is simply isn’t valid.

In order to have a valid prenuptial agreement, the following needs to be true:

  1. The parties executed the prenuptial agreement voluntarily.
  2. The agreement is not unconscionable (shockingly unfair) when it was executed.
  3. Each party was provided a fair, reasonable, and full disclosure of the property and financial obligations of the other party.
  4. Each party had adequate knowledge of the property and financial obligations of the other party.
  5. The party against whom enforcement is sought was represented by independent legal counsel at the time the prenuptial agreement was signed, or after being advised to seek independent legal counsel, expressly waived, in a separate writing, representation by independent legal counsel.
  6. The party against whom enforcement is sought had at least seven days between the time that party was first presented with the agreement and advised to seek independent legal counsel and the time the agreement was signed.
  7. The party against whom enforcement is sought, if not represented by independent legal counsel was:
    1. Fully informed of the terms and basic effect of the agreement as well as the rights and obligations he or she was giving up by signing the prenuptial agreement,
    2. Proficient in the language in which the explanation of the party’s rights was conducted and in which the agreement was written,
    3. The explanation of the rights and obligations given up must be in a writing delivered to the party prior to signing the agreement, and
    4. The party without an attorney shall, on or before the signing of the premarital agreement, execute a document declaring that he or she received the information required and indicating who provided that information.
  8. The prenuptial agreement must not be executed under duress, fraud, or undue influence, and the parties did not lack capacity to enter into the agreement.

If you need assistance with the drafting or review of a prenuptial agreement, feel free to contact Mioni Family Law at (424) 259-1770.

Can You Legally Adopt an Adult?

Can You Legally Adopt an Adult?

Adoption is not just for kids.  Adult adoption is a real thing and is both legal and possible.

So many people I speak with don’t realize that you can adopt an adult (assuming the adopting parent is at least 10 years older than the person being adopted).  This is great news for people that have always wanted to adopt their stepchild (or child they have raised), but for whatever reason were not able to do so when they were a child.

The most common hindrance in a stepparent adoption is that they are unable to get the consent of the biological mother or father to relinquish their rights.  This prevents the stepparent from completing the adoption as the biological parent’s consent is needed so that the stepparent can take their place as father or mother.  The beautiful thing about adult adoption is that you don’t need the consent of the biological father or mother.  We don’t even need to know who they are, or where they are.  You can proceed with an adult adoption entirely without them.

What does an adult adoption get me?

If you want, you can be issued a new birth certificate.  The adopted party can change her or his last name, and all the adoption records will be sealed.

The most common reasons to adopt an adult is to formalize and make legal a parent/child relationship you know and believe to be there.  There are also inheritance rights that may be beneficial (you’ll need to consult with an estate planning attorney to see if this would be beneficial to your unique situation).

If you need assistance with an adult adoption, please feel free to contact Mioni Family Law at (424) 259-1770.

Do I Really Need a Prenup?

Do I Really Need a Prenup?

 

For a lot of people the answer may be “no, you don’t actually”.  I’m not one of those attorneys that thinks everyone needs a prenup.  There are some people who can really benefit from a prenuptial agreement though.

So, who actually NEEDS a prenup?

That guy that has a bunch of money and married a trophy wife.  We all hope that the rich guy and the trophy wife make it for the long haul, but if we had to place a bet, we more than likely put our money on their relationship ending in a divorce.  That guy definitely needs a prenup.

The man/woman who is going on their second, third, or forth marriage and had children from their previous marriage.  You want to be sure to protect your assets so that you can leave something for your children.  This way, in the event of an unforeseen death, or a divorce, the new spouse doesn’t get more than you would like them to and you can leave something for your children or grandchildren.

The woman who owns her own business.  All those entrepreneurs out there, they definitely need prenups.  If you put in the time, effort, sweat, and tears to build a successful business, you should take the steps to protect it from the havoc of a divorce.  My most complicated cases are the ones where one of the parties owns a business.  The parties can almost never agree on the value of the business or the business’ cash flow.  We then have to bring in a forensic accountant to value the business and determine cash flow.  This gets expensive and the attorneys fees and headache can be prevented by a prenup.

You’re not exactly sure that your bride/groom is “the one”.  People get married for different reasons.  Some people feel like it’s just the right time in their life to get married, or they want to have a baby but feel that they should be married first.  Some people feel like they’ve been dating for too long not to be married.  Whatever the case may be, if you have cold feet, a prenup is likely a good idea.

Why is a prenuptial agreement a good idea?

With a prenuptial agreement, you can protect your assets and have some control over spousal support liability.  I personally think the best reason to get a prenup is that it makes your divorce much easier, much quicker, and much less expensive.  Many of the issues couples fight about wouldn’t be an issue if they were terms of the prenup.  You never hear anyone say, “Oh, I really wish I wouldn’t have gotten that prenup.”  No, instead you hear, “I wish I would have had a prenup!”

If you want to know more information about prenuptial agreements and how to get one drafted and implemented, give Mioni Family Law a call at (424) 259-1770.

Adult Adoption Lawyer

Adult Adoption Lawyer

What is adult adoption?  When one person who is an adult adopts another adult (note that the adopting parent is required to be at least ten years older than the person being adopted).

Do you need to get consent for an adult adoption from birth parents?  No.  The beauty of adult adoption is that you do not need the consent of a birth parent for the adoption to take place.  Many people want to adopt their step child but for one reason or another, the step child’s biological parent will not consent to the adoption.  The solution without a costly legal battle?  Wait until the step child is 18 years old and file for an adult adoption.

Can I get a new birth certificate with an adult adoption?  Yes.  Through the process of an adult adoption, the person being adopted can change their last name and can be issued a new birth certificate with the new parent listed on the birth certificate.

How long does an adult adoption take?  In Los Angeles County, an adult adoption takes approximately 2-4 months from the time we submit your adult adoption paperwork to the court until the adoption is finalized.  The length of time varies depending on the court’s availability.

Do I have to go to court for the adult adoption to be finalized?  Yes.  A court hearing is required in Los Angeles County in order to process your adult adoption.  The hearing is relatively quick, taking only about 15 minutes.  At the hearing, the court will make sure both parties understand that they are taking on the role of parent or child and that this is a legal relationship between the parties.  If either the adopting parent or the adult being adopted is married, the spouse will need to attend the adoption hearing to give consent that the adoption take place.

If you’d like assistance in filing for your adult adoption, please feel free to contact Mioni Family Law at (424) 259-1770.