How to Reverse an Adoption in California?

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 Can an Adoption Be Reversed in California?

In California, not all adoptions are permanent. In some situations, a person may reverse an adoption. This is done by going to court and asking that an adoption order be reversed. This requires filing a document known as a “petition to vacate a court order” or “vacate a judgment.”

Either a child’s biological parents or their adoptive parents may file a petition to reverse an adoption. The court may grant the petition and vacate its previous adoption order. In that case, the birth certificate of the child is changed to show the biological parents as the child’s parents once again.

Of course, biological parents may want to reverse the adoption of their child because they want to regain their parental rights. One good way to go about this is for the biological parents to get the agreement of the adoptive parents for the reversal.

Then, all the parties may file a joint petition in court asking to vacate the order of adoption. The court would hold a hearing at which the biological parents would have to show why the adoption is no longer in the child’s best interest.

It is important to keep in mind that while biological parents or adoptive parents may request vacating of an adoption order, in making a decision, the court is going to assess the request from the perspective of the best interest of the adopted child.

The parties who file a petition to vacate an order that finalized an adoption would have to present the court with evidence to show a compelling reason to reverse the adoption. For example, a party to it may want to show that the adoption was made under duress or as the result of fraudulent misrepresentation. A showing of this type might persuade a court to reverse it.

While there might be many reasons for which a party would want to reverse an adoption, for example, because they were a victim of a wrongful adoption, there would have to be a compelling reason that involves the best interest of the child to justify it in the view of a judge.

Adoptive parents may wish to terminate an adoption. Not all adoptions are successful, even for the adoptive parents. For example, when the relationship between the adoptive parents and the adoptee is not successful, the adoptive parents may seek to annul or vacate the adoption.

This usually occurs when both parties are no longer benefiting from their new relationship. Again, however, a court would sanction the reversal of the adoption if the adoptive parents can show that the relationship is no longer in the best interest of the adopted child, perhaps because they are no longer able to care for the child.

When an adopted child reaches the age of 18, they may choose to reverse an adoption. Some adoptees reverse their adoptions in later life because they feel that their relationship with their adoptive parents has failed.

Again, it may not be easy to reverse an adoption. A person would want to consult a local California attorney for help with this process.

What Are the Different Types of Adoptions?

In California, there are several types of adoption as follows:

Independent or private infant adoption: This is an adoption that is initiated by a private person, often a woman who is expecting a child and plans to arrange the adoption of the child by another private party.

First, the expectant parent would find an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to handle the adoption. Then, working with the adoption agency or attorney, the expecting parent would select a family to adopt their child.

The adoption agency works with parents who are seeking families to adopt their children and with other families who are seeking a child to adopt, so it would probably be able to match the two families. The expectant mother looks through profiles of families who want to adopt, selects a family, and interviews the family.

After the expecting mother has given birth and decides to finalize the adoption, she would sign an Independent Adoption Placement Agreement. This agreement may be revoked within 30 days of its singing and become automatically irrevocable after that per California law;

Foster Care Adoption: At any given time, there are tens of thousands of children being cared for in California’s foster care system. Some are able to live with family members until they are able to resume living with their biological parents. However, others become available for adoption by other non-biological parents.

Prospective adoptive families may complete an adoption home study and, if approved, finalize an adoption through a state adoption agency or social worker to finalize the adoption. A state social worker supervises the adoption with home visits for 6 or more months until a California court finalizes the adoption. The cost of a foster care adoption is much less than intercountry or private adoption. It can also be done through a private adoption agency;

Intercountry Adoption in California: In an intercountry or international adoption, the adoptive parents must meet the requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as well as the requirements for the country from which the parents hope to adopt. In international adoption, the parent or parents also complete a home study and work with an adoption agency in the country in which the prospective adoptee lives.

The Hague Adoption Convention (HAC) is an international treaty that defines what an orphan is, and only children who meet the definition are available for adoption. In countries that are signatories to the HAC, adoption agencies must comply with the HAC and be accredited as required by the HAC. The Convention protects children and families and ensures transparency in the international adoption process.

If a person wants to adopt from a nation that is a signatory of the HAC, they would need to work with an HAC-accredited agency. Of course, a person may also work with an agency that is not HAC-accredited and works in non-HAC nations;

Other Types: There are still other types, such as kinship adoption and adoption by the spouse of the biological mother or father, i.e., a step-parent adoption.

What Are Some Basics of Adoption?

There are different types of adoption, and each type involves very different circumstances. An independent adoption usually involves a child in its infancy, whereas a foster care adoption may involve an older child, even one who is a teenager.

Nonetheless, many of the issues are the same in each case. There is an evaluation of the fitness of the prospective adoptive parents, their home, and their ability to care for their prospective adopted child. In addition, people have a period of time after the adoption to back out if they believe it is not working out well. After that period comes to an end and the process is finalized, a person must go to court to reverse an adoption.

Prospective parents who adopt through a private agency, through California foster care, or internationally have to participate in completing post-placement reports for 6 months before a final decree of adoption is issued from the state.

A social worker licensed in California works with the parents during the home study process. The social worker is required to visit the family and child in the home at least 4 times during the 6-month period. This is done to ensure that both the parents and child are adequately supported or whether they may need more support services.

The country from which parents adopt in an international adoption also requires post-placement reports. The specific requirements are different in different countries.

How Much Does It Cost to Reverse an Adoption?

There is a fee for filing a petition. A person would ask the clerk of the court in which they plan to file what the fee is. It might amount to a few hundred dollars. If a person has an attorney representing them, which might be a good idea, they would have to compensate the attorney, probably on an hourly fee basis.

It is possible that a person would need an expert witness to address possible issues involving the adopted child and/or parents. For example, California law provides that if a child had a developmental disability or mental illness that pre-existed the child’s adoption of which the adoptive parents had no notice, the adoptive parents may win a reversal of the adoption.

The parents who seek the reversal may need to pay expert witnesses to testify about the child’s developmental disability or mental illness. This would add to the cost.

What Is the Revocation Period for Adoption?

In the case of fraud in the adoption, the revocation period is 5 years after the adoption. In the case of an adoption involving a child who has a developmental disability or mental illness, the petition to reverse must be made within 3 years of the adoption.

In the case of other grounds for the revocation of an adoption, a California adoption lawyer would be able to advise a person of the time period within which reversal must be started. In any event, it is always advisable for a person not to wait but to act promptly if they decide they wish to reverse an adoption.

Do I Need the Help of a Lawyer with My Adoption Reversal Issue?

If you are interested in reversing an adoption, you want to consult a California adoption lawyer. Even if biological parents and adoptive parents agree to reverse an adoption, it may not be a simple matter to vacate an order in court. can connect you to a lawyer who can help you make a successful case that reversing the adoption in which you were involved would serve the best interests of the child.

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