Adoptions & Child Custody

Adoptions & Child Custody

Once upon a time there was a perfect family. A husband worked hard to support his wife and children. The wife took care of the house, gave birth to the children and spent her time educating older ones and looking after young ones. In that world, people did not have much of a choice of when and whether to have children.

Nowadays, societal ideas on what constitutes a perfect family have changed. Courts provide the legal framework for all of these ideas:

  • Parentage Actions
  • Adoptions
  • Surrogates
  • Non Parental Custody
  • Temporary Parental Consent Agreements
  • Guardianships
Parentage Action

Some people have children outside marriage. Some of them have children by choice, others by chance. In many of such cases, even though not married and without any intention of spending lives together, both biological parents want to participate in the life of their kid. Courts use parentage actions to establish parenting plans and determine child support for parents who have never been married and have no intention of being together.

Adoptions and Surrogates

Single parents, gay couples or reproductively challenged couples have a strong desire to have children. They could either adopt or find a surrogate mother to conceive their biological child. Use of surrogates creates new legal issues that never existed before.

Instead of surrogates, majority of people prefer to go a more conventional route. Adoptions, especially international adoptions, are becoming a new trend. Many celebrities adopted at least one child. Angelina Jolie adopted more than one. Adoption is a six step process culminating in a legal action, which finalizes the adoption.

Non-Parental Child Custody

In several well-defined circumstances, persons other than parents could obtain custody of a child not their own. One method is a non-parental custody action filed in court under RCW 26.10. The second method, available only in agreed cases, is a Temporary Parental Consent Agreement.

An action under RCW 26.10 could be brought only if the is not in the physical custody of either parent or if neither parent is a suitable custodian. If successful, this action leads to permanent legal custody awarded to a non parent. The final custody order is called Nonparental Custody Decree.

In cases, when a non parent wants to care for a child temporarily with parents' consent, a Temporary Parental Consent Agreement is often used. It is not a court order. Instead, Temporary Parental Consent Agreement is an agreement between parents and non parents. It does not restrict parental rights, and it could be cancelled any time by the parent. As it is a temporary solution, non parents should seek nonparental custody if they intend to care for the child for more than one year.


When writing a Will, many people are concerned about their minor children. At their last Testament they could nominate a guardian. This nomination becomes effective in the event of death or incapacity of the last surviving parent. Normally, courts confirm such nominations unless they find that the individual nominated in the surviving parent's will or durable power of attorney is not qualified to serve.

Our office will assist you with all of the above-stated actions by either helping you with a legal action or by drafting a Contract or a Will. Please contact us to obtain additional information and/or to schedule a free initial interview.