If you process an adoption in California, the birth mother is not required to be represented by legal counsel. However, some birth mothers will request independent counsel to guide them through the adoption process. Independent counsel serves to ensure that the birth mother’s consent is signed knowingly and voluntarily, which in turn protects adopting parents from a later challenge by a birth mother who could claim she did not understand the impact of her action. In non-agency interstate adoptions, we routinely have the birth mother be represented by local legal counsel in her state. You are more likely to achieve a successful adoption with the rights of all parties are understood, respected, and preserved ethically through each stage of the process.