What is Second Parent Adoption?
Second parent adoption is an important and significant legal issue for same-sex couples. In the case of a same-sex couple with biological children, only one parent is the biological mother or father of the child. In the case of a same-sex couple with adopted children, it is often the case that only one parent is the legal parent. Therefore, the other parent’s legal rights to raise the child or to make important child rearing decisions can be in jeopardy. In a second parent adoption, the biological or legal adoptive parent can allow their partner to legally adopt the child. Under these circumstances, the couple does not have to have a legally recognized union, nor do the biological or adoptive parent’s rights have to be terminated. Currently there are 14 states that allow for second parent adoption, including California and New York. For a comprehensive list, please see the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). In states that permit second parent adoption, procedures are in place to assist the co-parents in creating two legal parents for their child. The process can be used by:
- lesbian or gay couples planning to have one partner be the biological parent.
- gay or lesbian couples in which one of the partners is already the legal parent of a minor child.
- families where one of the child’s biological parents has surrendered their parental rights.
- The composition of the residence of the child
- The significant role of the other parent in the child’s daily life
- The relationship between the child and the non-biological parent was encouraged and fostered by the biological or adoptive parent
- The duration of the relationship between the child and the non-biological parent
***Anthony Zurica is an Attorney specializing in Adoption Law and a guest writer for Considering Adoption. Based in New York City, Anthony stands by his clients as an ally and friend during the entire process of adoption, from application to successfully becoming a parent. Although adoption can be an emotional and oftentimes lengthy process, Anthony is committed to being there every step of the way, 24/7. Dedicating his life to inspiring optimism and encouraging patience, Anthony works closely with individuals and families. Furthermore, Anthony is a proponent and advocate for LGBT families. Anthony also volunteers as a CASA (court-appointed special advocate for children), and is on the junior board of the New York Foundling, a charity that that empowers thousands of children and families to live independent, stable and fulfilling lives throughout NY. Find out more and feel free to get in touch through his website, www.nycadoptionlawyer.com, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.