Sanders v. Yanez - Appellate Court Case (Sixth District) CA must recognize out-of-state adoption

The California Appellate Court in the Sixth District recently issued a ruling that determined that a child adopted under the laws of a non-California state (in this case Texas), that was valid under the laws of Texas, must be recognized as valid under the laws of the state of California.

The particular case involved a trust dispute where the term "issue" (lay speak for "descendants") was defined as the lawful lineal descendants of all degrees - including adopted children.  In this particular case the adopted son, Andrew,  was adopted in Texas and the California probate trial court in Monterey County determined that because he was not adopted in compliance with California adoption requirements the Texas adoption would not be recognized, thus eliminating Andrew as an "issue" with benefits under the Trust.  The rationale being that a Texas parent-child relationship did not encompass the same rights and duties as a California parent-child relationship.

The court of appeal reversed.

The appellate court ruling declares that California cannot devalue or eliminate the fact of an existing parent/child relationship simply because it was created, whether by biology or adoption, in another state that imposes different rights and duties to establish a parent/child relationship.  The criterion or policy choices in determining what a "parent/child" relationship is for legal purposes in a non-California state do not alter the status of the relationship in California.