Do California Adoptive Parents Have to Appear in Court for the Final Adoption Hearing?
The California Family Code requires the adoptive parents, the child being adopted, and the attorney (if you have one) to appear in court for the finalization hearing, when the adoption is granted. This can be waived, however.
What are the Grounds to Waive our Appearance at the Final Court Hearing?For some adoptive parents, it is quite difficult to attend the final hearing. Perhaps you started the adoption while living in Riverside County, CA, and during the adoption you moved to Oregon. Or what about if you are in the military and are serving out of the area.
The Family Code has special provisions for both situations. Your attorney will file an Application, with a Declaration signed by you, setting forth why it is very difficult (expense, distance, et cetera) for you to attend the final hearing. The court can issue an order waiving your, and the child's appearance. Only your lawyer will need to appear.
What about the documents that Can Only Be Signed in Front of the Judge?Normally, the adoptive parents, and the child if aged 12 or older, must sign the Adoption Agreement (agreeing to the adoption) in front of the judge. However, if the court grants the Application for the adoptive parents and the child not to appear, in that case they are permitted to sign the document just in front of a notary public, and your attorney will file it at the final hearing.
Usually when the court waives your appearance, you do not need to appear at all, but sometimes a judge will ask that you appear by telephone, in which case you are put on speaker to be asked a few basic questions confirming your readiness to adopt.