Mission Viejo Adoption Lawyer

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Mission Viejo Adoption Attorney

Adoption is one of the most valuable legal mechanisms in the California family court system and an incredible way to grow and strengthen any family. This process can be life-changing for both the adoptive parents and their adopted child, and it is also possible for an adult adoption to ensure that a disabled adult has the care and supervision they need to live the most fulfilling life possible. Many different types of adoption cases unfold through the Mission Viejo family court system, and if you are preparing for any type of adoption, it is crucial to know what to expect from the process and the value of having legal counsel you can trust.

Helping Parents in the Adoption Process in Mission Viejo, CA

The team at Cianci Law, PC can provide the responsive legal counsel you need to approach your impending adoption case with confidence and peace of mind. Attorney Melissa Cianci has been certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization as a certified family law specialist, enabling her and her team to provide expert-level legal counsel for a wide range of family court cases in Mission Viejo and surrounding communities.

If you need legal assistance with an impending adoption case, our team is ready to help. We provide client-focused and compassionate legal counsel to every client we represent, helping them understand the most complex details of their case as clearly as possible. Whatever type of adoption you are pursuing in Mission Viejo, you can rely on the team at Cianci Law, PC to provide ongoing support through every step of the process.

Understanding the Benefits of Adoption

An adoption order formally establishes parental rights for a child or a disabled adult. This may appear to be little more than a legal technicality, but a formalized adoption ensures that the adopted individual has specific legal rights they may not otherwise have. For example, if a child has been formally adopted, they will have the same rights as a biological child. This means they will be able to inherit property through intestate succession and would also have the right to pursue certain legal actions on their adoptive parents’ behalf. For example, if their adoptive parent died due to another party’s actions, their adoptive child could pursue a wrongful death claim just as a biological child could.

If you are planning to adopt, or if you aren’t sure whether an adoption is a legally viable option for your family in Mission Viejo, the right attorney can provide clarity and support so you can make a fully informed decision. The team at Cianci Law, PC can take time to learn as much as we can about you and your family, helping you determine the optimal ways to take advantage of the adoption process in family court. Any adoption case can be more complex than it appears at first, and we are confident in our ability to guide you to the outcome you hope to see.

Different Types of Adoption in Family Court

It’s possible for an adoption case to unfold in various ways in the Mission Viejo family court system. The team at Cianci Law, PC has successfully facilitated many past clients’ adoption cases and we are confident in our ability to handle any unique challenges your case may present. A few examples of the various types of adoption cases we have resolved in Mission Viejo include:

  • Independent or open adoptions. This type of adoption entails direct communication between the biological parents of a child and the adoptive parents. California law allows open adoptions, but it is strongly advised that each party have legal representation to help mediate the process and ensure the adoption proceeds unimpeded by administrative issues.
  • Agency adoption. Many adoption agencies will place children who have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, or declared wards of the state with adoptive families. Your Mission Viejo adoption attorney can coordinate with a local adoption agency through all stages of the process.
  • Adoption through identification. This is essentially a combination of open adoption and agency adoption. The parties will directly communicate regarding the adoption process, but an agency will facilitate the actual adoption. Your attorney can help ensure all phases of the process unfold correctly.
  • Stepparent adoption. This is a commonly filed type of adoption case in the state. When a parent with sole custody of their child remarries, and their new spouse is willing to assume financial and parental responsibility for the child, it is possible for the stepparent to adopt the child as long as the child’s other biological parent has had their parental rights terminated by the court or they are willing to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights.
  • International adoption. This is a type of agency adoption that involves an overseas adoption agency. There are many organizations that facilitate American parents’ adoption of children from impoverished and war-torn countries. This is usually a more complex process than a standard agency adoption, so it is vital to have legal representation you can trust to guide you through the process successfully.
  • Adult adoption. It’s possible for an adult with disabilities to be formally adopted, ensuring they have the ongoing support and daily care they need to have the highest possible quality of life.

Regardless of the type of adoption you are pursuing in Mission Viejo, an experienced attorney on your side can streamline the process significantly, and you will be fully prepared to address any unexpected challenges that arise throughout the process. Your legal team can assist with recovering any documentation you will need to submit to the family court and help you prepare for a home study, interviews, and courtroom appearances that the adoption case may entail.

Understanding the Adoption Process in Mission Viejo

When an adoption case pertains to domestic, stepparent, or grandparent adoption, it will be necessary to ensure the termination of parental rights of the biological parent before the adoptive parent can assume those parental rights and responsibilities. This could involve several hearings depending on whether the biological parent has had their parental rights terminated or they are willing to voluntarily terminate their parental rights so the adoption can move forward.

After resolving the termination of parental rights, or if this is not an issue due to the death of the biological parent or any other reason, the home study will be the next major stage of the court’s review of the proposed adoption. A social worker will be assigned to the case, and they will interview the adoptive parents and inspect their home to ensure that the proposed adoption would suit the child’s interests. The home study may consist of a single visit and interview or multiple sessions, and the process typically entails:

  • Background checks. If anyone intends to adopt a child in the state, they must have their full background verified. This typically includes a review of any criminal record they have, as well as a child abuse clearance. If an adoptive parent has any type of criminal history, the court will take this very seriously and will be unlikely to grant adoptive parental rights to anyone who has a history of child abuse, domestic violence, drug-related offenses, or violent crime.
  • Paperwork. During the home study, the social worker will need to have the adoptive parents complete various forms and provide personal records such as tax information, birth certificates, and more. The social worker will generally guide the adoptive parents through the process of completing any required documentation for the adoption review.
  • Interview. The social worker will want to talk to the adoptive parents about their values, parenting views, goals for the future, their life stories, and more. This is for the social worker to ascertain whether the adoptive parents are truly focused on the child’s interests.
  • Adoption education. Some adoptive parents will be required to complete educational courses pertaining to raising their adopted child. This is most common for international adoptions as the parents may need to complete a course teaching them how to raise a child from a different culture or ethnicity as well as addressing developmental issues and handling discipline.
  • Home inspection. The social worker must verify that the adoptive parents have a safe and clean home to provide to the adopted child.

The home study process may seem intrusive and daunting, but it is a critical component of any adoption review. Your Mission Viejo adoption attorney can provide helpful guidance for preparing for the home study and help gather any documentation you may need to provide to the social worker assigned to your case.

Contested Adoptions in Mission Viejo

It is possible for an adoption to be contested for various reasons, usually by the biological parent who will essentially be replaced by the adoptive parent. The final decision as to whether the adoption can proceed rests in the hands of the judge overseeing the case. If a biological parent has lost their parental rights through involuntary termination because they broke the law, they will not have strong grounds to contest the adoption at all. However, if a noncustodial parent with visitation rights who has consistently met their child support obligation is informed that their child’s custodial parent is remarrying and wants the stepparent to adopt, they have the right to contest the decision. This type of adoption may only proceed if the biological parent being replaced has had their parental rights terminated or they are willing to voluntarily surrender their parental rights.

Benefits of Adoption in Mission Viejo

While adoption is a complex and multifaceted process that can be stressful to complete, the results are entirely worth the effort. If you hire Cianci Law, PC to handle your adoption case we will do everything we can to help you understand the various stages of the process and streamline your proceedings as much as possible. When you adopt a child you are effectively ensuring they have the same legal rights and protections as your biological children.

Adoption can help a blended family feel more connected, and it can also provide important protections for the adopted child’s future. One of the most important legal rights that adoption ensures is the right of intestate succession. If you adopt a child, they will have a valid legal claim to inherit your property after your death through estate administration, and they will also have the right to pursue various types of legal actions for you if necessary.

How a Mission Viejo Adoption Attorney Can Help

Attorney Cianci and her team in Mission Viejo can provide comprehensive legal counsel through every stage of the adoption process. We know that anyone facing this type of situation is likely to have many pressing legal questions and various concerns as to how the process might unfold. Even if the process appears to be perfectly clear at first, there is always a chance for unexpected complications to arise that disrupt the situation in various ways.

Our firm has years of experience resolving many types of adoption cases for Mission Viejo clients. You can depend on the team at Cianci Law, PC to provide several important legal services throughout this process, including:

  • Providing clear explanations of all the financial and legal issues involved in an intrastate, interstate, or international adoption. Any adoption may be an expensive process and your attorney can explain all the various financial obligations you may need to address.
  • Completing paperwork and gathering documentation. There is a tremendous amount of administrative paperwork required for an adoption, and attempting to meet these demands without legal counsel can be exceptionally challenging. A family lawyer can make this process much faster and easier.
  • Preparing for all preliminary review steps, such as a background check, home study, interviews, and courtroom appearances. The home study is typically the most important phase of an adoption review, and your attorney can provide valuable guidance to help you approach this with confidence.
  • Preparing for the finalization hearing. After completing all necessary review steps and meeting all filing requirements, the adoption will be finalized in court at the discretion of a family court judge.
  • Explanation of custody issues pertaining to extended family. For example, if a biological grandparent wishes to maintain contact with their grandchild after the biological parent has lost custody rights, the court will need to address any such issues.
  • LGBT and same-sex adoptions.
  • Resolving contested adoptions.
  • Mediation with adoption agencies in the Mission Viejo area and other areas of the state, the United States, or other countries.

Ultimately, every adoption case is unique, and anyone approaching this process needs legal counsel they can trust to navigate the situation as efficiently as possible and accomplish their goals. The team at Cianci Law, PC is standing by to provide the compassionate legal counsel you need for your impending adoption case, so contact us today to schedule your consultation with a Mission Viejo adoption attorney.

Practice Areas



Child Custody& Support



Family Law

Family Law



Estate Planning

Pre and Postnuptial Agreement


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