Couple with childAdoption is the legal process by which an adult becomes the legal parent of someone who is not his or her biological child. Adoption creates a parent-child relationship recognized for all legal purposes including child support obligations, inheritance rights and custody.

There are different ways adoptions are handled, including:

  • Agency Adoptions
  • Tribal Customary Adoption
  • Independent Adoptions
  • International Adoptions
  • Stepparent or Domestic Partner Adoptions
  • Relative Adoptions
  • Adult Adoptions

This section gives you basic information about how the adoption process works
in California.

It will help you understand what to do:

BEFORE going to court: Proof needs to be gathered to show that the adoption is legally possible in this case;

DURING the court process: What steps to take to get to the court hearing;

AFTER the court hearing: What needs to be done if the adoption is approved.

This section also has answers for your Frequently Asked Questions about adoption, and information about the forms you will need for your case.

To view some short videos with general information about how California’s court system works, click here. Opens new window

To get the information you need to get started, you can use the “drop down” menu at the left side of this page, or you can click on the “Next” button at the bottom of the page.


This website’s general information is very helpful for everyone in California.
To find your county court’s website to learn about extra forms or procedures,
 click here.

Did this information help you?  Tell us what you think.

If you want help finding what you need, you can email us at virtualselfhelp@contracosta.courts.ca.gov.

You will receive a response within one week.