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What is Second Parent Adoption, and Why Do I Need it?
Another adoption option for same-sex couples is second-parent adoption. While less common nowadays because of the marriage equality ruling, it’s still a viable option for many unmarried same-sex couples who want to legally make a child a part of their family. Before you start pursuing a second-parent adoption, however, it’s important that you consult with an experienced adoption attorney in your state. Because the states that allow second-parent adoption vary and each adoption situation is unique, a lawyer can help you understand whether second-parent adoption is right for you — and, if not, which legal process you’ll need to pursue.
What is second parent adoption?The goals of a second-parent adoption are very similar to those of a stepparent adoption — the key difference between the two being the marital status of the adoptive parents involved. Because many states require parents who wish to adopt a child together to be married, if a same-sex couple is unmarried, only one partner can legally adopt a child. Therefore, for the other partner to protect their rights to the child without getting married and completing a stepparent adoption, they must go through the legal process of a second parent adoption. There are several common situations that may require a second parent adoption for unmarried same-sex adoptive parents:
- When one partner completed an adoption on their own, and the other partner wants to legalize their parent-child relationship with that adopted child
- When a same-sex couple could not adopt jointly in the past but wants to protect the original non-adopting partner’s legal rights to their child
- When an LGBT couple has a child through assisted reproductive technology and only one member of the couple is automatically the legal parent of a child (just being on the birth certificate is not enough to secure the non-biological parent’s rights)