Second Parent Adoption Necessity: Securing Parentage in Uncertain Times

Second parent adoption necessity has become the primary topic of discussion for me both at work and in my private life. 

Is there a second parent adoption necessity?  Everyone wants to know whether their family is safe.  Since January 2017, I have received more calls from parents who have not gone through the second parent adoption process for whatever reason and are now concerned that their children may be the ones who suffer from the lack of clear and incontrovertible parentage; a parentage that second parent adoption provides.

Why do I have to adopt my own child?  Many gay and lesbian parents are asking this question when attempting to understand the second parent adoption necessity.  In New York, married lesbian couples who have used anonymous sperm donors are allowed to be listed as a parent on their child’s birth certificate.  Gay couples who have children with the help of a surrogate mother may have petitioned for and received a pre or post-birth order declaring them the legal parents of their children.  They may also be on their children’s birth certificate.  So why is second parent adoption a necessity?second parent adoption necessity

The answer to this question is perhaps the most confounding that I have had to provide clients and friends.  If you can guarantee that your relationship will never end in divorce or dissolution and that, if it does, both individuals will prioritize the best interests of the child first and foremost, then perhaps you can get by without a second parent adoption.  But the reality of a relationship ending is never certain and, unfortunately, the non-genetically related parent is vulnerable to what may be costly and emotionally terrifying consequences.  While the few cases we have seen that have addressed the issue of the validity of a pre or post-birth order have ultimately upheld those orders, those cases cost the litigants tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is because every jurisdiction has different laws around parentage, some more friendly than others.

With a second parent adoption, there is no question about the parentage rights of a non-genetically related parent.  Even with recent New York case law protecting non-adoptive lesbian parents, there remains questions about what rights other than the standing to sue for custody and visitation exist without adoption.  Federal social security benefits attach to “natural or adopted” children.  Inheritance rights attach to “natural or adopted” children.  Without adoption, future clarification will be needed to accurately assess when parentage exists.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Gay Families – Sometimes it feels  like we are all just waiting for the law to catch up to how gay and lesbian couples have their families.  One recent decision from Brooklyn, Kings County Family Court to be precise, describes this issue masterfully and concludes that second parent adoption is the one way to ensure that couples are protected as state courts and legislatures grapple with assisted reproductive technology (ART) issues.

While the court in this decision confirms that a parental relationship exists in most cases with or without the adoption, it also holds that married gay and lesbian couples are entitled to second parent adoptions to expel any doubt about parentage and to protect families, particularly when they travel throughout the country and around the world.  The good news is that in many states, New York included, a marriage is not a prerequisite for a second parent adoption.

Whether you are a lesbian couple with a known donor or an anonymous donor, or whether you are a gay couple with a surrogate mother and a pre or post-birth order, the second parent adoption necessity is very real.  Second parent adoption is the right choice to make to protect your family from any future uncertainties.

For more information, email me at Anthony@timeforfamilies.com or visit www.timeforfamilies.com for more information.

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Same-Sex Parents Still Face Obstacles Under New York’s Standing Rules

Prior to the tragic events of Sunday, June 13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida, one might have felt optimistic about the evolving societal acceptance of and respect for same-sex parents and the corresponding progressive state of family and matrimonial law.

We shared in the sense of uplift from the recent United States Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Windsor and, especially, in Obergefell. v. Hodges, decided a little over one year ago on June 26, 2015. Obergefell dealt in sweeping fashion with discriminatory and unconstitutional objections to marriage for same-sex couples. As set forth in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s dramatic and moving language, the need for same-sex parents, and the children of those relationships, to be granted the social dignity and the many societal benefits that go along with stepping into the light of mainstream acceptance by virtue of a nationwide right to marry is required by the equal protection mandates of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.gay parents adoption

In concluding that its “analysis compels the conclusion that same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry,” 576 U.S. 12 (2015), the Supreme Court in Obergefell detailed not just the importance of being able to enter the institution of marriage, but the need for same-sex couples to do so on fully equal footing as other couples, through the front door, and stressed in its exhaustive analysis that the focus should not be on how these couples love, but that they love and wish for that love to be reflected in their social standing.

Choices about marriage shape an individual’s destiny. As the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has explained, because “it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition. Goodridge, 440 Mass., at 322, 798 N.E. 2d at 955″ cited at 576 U.S. 13 (2015).

As this court held in Lawrence, same sex couples have the same right as opposite-sex couples to enjoy intimate association. Lawrence invalidated laws that made same-sex intimacy a criminal act. And it acknowledged that “[w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. 539 U.S. at 567. But while Lawrence confirmed a dimension of freedom that allows individuals to engage in intimate association without criminal liability, it does not follow that freedom stops there. Outlaw to outcast may be a step forward, but it does not achieve the full promise of liberty.

576 U.S. at 14.

Further, Justice Kennedy singled out the importance of the right to marry to the children of these relationships.

Excluding same sex couples from marriage thus conflicts with a central premise of the right to marry. Without the recognition, stability, and predictability marriage offers, their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families to be somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.

576 at U.S. 15.

In New York, the passage of the Marriage Equality Act in 2011 directed that all of the laws, benefits and obligations bestowed by the Domestic Relations Law with regard to marriage be read and implemented without regard to sexual orientation, and, if necessary to do that, in a gender neutral way.

Section 10-a. Parties to a marriage.

1. A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex.

2. No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage, whether deriving from statute, administrative or court rule, public policy, common law or any other source of law, shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being or having been of the same sex rather than a different sex. When necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities of spouses under the law, all gender specific language or terms shall be construed in a gender-neutral manner in all such sources of law.

Yet, despite the passage of the Marriage Equality Act and the newfound nationwide ability to marry, the courts in New York are contending with circumstances in which same-sex families were formed and children brought into them by using strategies that pre-date the ability of same-sex couples to marry. This approach has potentially devastating consequences when those families and their respective rights are addressed in divorce and family court proceedings. These problems arise from, and the courts continue to wrestle with the vestiges of, a rule established by the New York Court of Appeals a generation ago in Alison D. v. Virginia M., 77 N.Y.2d 651 (1991), which set the stage for categorical discrimination against same-sex parents based upon their lack of a biological or adoptive relationship to a child.

The impact of Alison D. was eroded somewhat by the Court of Appeals decision in Debra H. v. Janice R., 14 N.Y.3d 576 (2010), which, through application of comity, recognized parental standing of a non-biological non-adoptive parent in 2010 based upon Vermont’s judicially created rules granting standing based upon the couple’s civil union in Vermont. However, without the right to marry or enter into a civil union in New York at the time, children of unmarried same-sex couples in New York were not afforded the same benefits and protections.

This discrimination is not so easily remedied by the directives of the Marriage Equality Act because many of the parents involved in these situation were not or are not married at the time that their children are born and because the conceptual framework for the denial of standing is based upon a biologically based terminology that is found throughout the family and matrimonial law. This terminology reflects a fixation with the biomechanics of conception, a fixation which runs deeper than mere gender assumptions. Instead of a focus on the “best interest” of children, which is the bedrock determination of all other matters related to their custody and welfare in New York matrimonial and family law, the New York Supreme, Family and Surrogate’s Courts continue to trip over the threshold issues of “standing” when it comes to same-sex parents because of references to “birth” parents or the heterosexual and gender assumptions implied by the use of the word “paternity.” For example, a “paternity” test directed in Family Court proceeding continues to only apply to men and only to establish the biological relationship of men to children obviously born to women. Perforce, this excludes same-sex couples.

By Meg Canby and Caroline Krauss Browne

law.com

Click here to read the entire article.

Gay Parents Adoption – New Possibilities

Gay parents adoption used to be unheard of.

While certain countries still struggle with the concept of our families being equal to all others, in America, the foundation for gay parents adopting has been set and the legal protections for these families are available and critical to creating security in these family structures.  There are several means by which gay parents adoption can occur. I will review the most common: private adoption, public adoption and second or step parent adoption.

Private Adoption – There are several reasons that parents looking to adopt a child may look into private adoption, sometimes referred to as domestic adoption. The availability of children is higher than most people expect.  In the most recent year for which accurate data exists, there were over 18,000 domestic non-relative adoptions of newborns within the United States. Although the number of people placing their children for adoption has fallen dramatically since the 1970s due to the stigma of single-parenthood thankfully decreasing, there are still many birth parents making the painful but loving choice to look for a family for their biological child.

The adoption of the child can be done in one of two ways. The first is to engage an agency to walk you through the process and to help you with paperwork and the emotional upheaval that such a big life decision will inevitably bring. The benefits to involving an agency are numerous; for example, having your own ‘Adoption Specialist’ who will help you communicate with the various other professionals who need to be involved in the process such as social workers, physicians and lawyers. Financial assistance may be available to help cover legal fees, and agencies often do not charge to process the adoption.

lesbian family law

drawing of a happy couple of lesbians and adopted child

The second is a private arrangement whereby a birth mother and prospective parents arrange the adoption between themselves. They will have to hire lawyers and meet the legal requirements of adoption such as age, ability to care for the child and other important aspects. Parents who want to adopt are able to ‘advertise’ for a birth mother, and mothers who have chosen adoption for their child are able to do the same for an adoptive family.

Public Adoption – Foster children are in the legal custody of a commissioner of a social services district. That district may give responsibility for the care of the child to a voluntary authorized agency. When a child is in foster care, decisions must be made regarding the long-range permanency plan for the child. If the social services district decides that it would not be in the child’s best interests to return home and that the child should be adopted, steps must be taken to legally free the child for adoption.

There are three ways a child can become legally free for gay parents adoption: 1) the birth parents can sign a voluntary surrender agreement; 2) the social services district responsible for the child can bring a case in court asking the judge to terminate the parental rights of the birth parents; or 3) if both birth parents are deceased, or one parent is deceased and there is no other parent whose consent to the adoption is required, the child is automatically free for adoption.  Read more at the NY State Office of Children and Family Services, the source of this information.

Second or Step Parent Adoption – One increasingly popular methods for gay parents adoption is when one parent has a biologically related child of their own and their partner or spouse adopts that child.  If the couple is not married it is referred to as a “second parent adoption” and if they are married, it is referred to as a “step parent adoption.”   For both gay and lesbian couples, securing the legal rights of a non-biological parent is crucial to create the kind of emotional, and legal, security that most other families take for granted. The legality of both parents relationship to their child is often assumed. Parents are parents, regardless of the biological connection to your child.

While recent case law is catching up to our families, it is still lagging in the ability to create complete security without adoption, or a birth order from a competent jurisdiction.  Whichever path you choose to having your family, It is critical to speak with an attorney with experience in the field.  When you consider gay parent adoption, please consider me a resource. For more information on family estate planning, contact Anthony M. Brown at Time for Families and speak to a specialist family lawyer to secure your and your family’s future.

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Italian couple win international second parent adoption case

 

Two gay Italian women have won the right to international second parent adoption, a legal first for the country. All previous verdicts in Italy in favour of lesbian women being legally recognized as the parents of their partner’s children are at the appeal stages.

In its judgment on Friday, Rome’s juvenile court said Marilena Grassadonia, president of the Rainbow Families association, could adopt her wife’s twin boys via international second parent adoption. In turn, her partner adopted Grassadonia’s son. All three were conceived by artificial insemination.

In March, a man won his request to adopt his partner’s child, but rights watchers believed the ruling may have slipped through the net due to an administrative error, with the office of the prosecutor in charge of the case failing to file an appeal in time.adoption

Grassadonia was a vocal campaigner in Italy during the heated debate earlier this year over a contested civil unions bill.

The text, adopted by parliament’s upper house after a clause allowing gay couples second parent adoption was removed, will be examined by the lower house from 9 May.

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi has said he will resort to a confidence vote on the government, if necessary, to make the bill law.

While they wait for a change in the law, courts have been finding in favour of gay couples since 2014 on the basis of current legislation that favours “emotional continuity” for children.

The Guardian – April 30, 2016

Click here to read the entire article.

Two Moms Talk About Second Parent Adoption

Not all LGBT parents in the U.S. can put both parents’ names on their children’s birth certificate.  Second Parent adoption can help.

And even if they can, many lawyers still advise that gay couples go through a second parent adoption as a means to protect their parental rights to their children.

Brandy and Susan from The Next Family discuss their second parent adoption experience so other LGBT parents can gain some insight.

The moms explain the importance of second parent adoption by providing the example of traveling internationally to countries that don’t recognize same-sex marriage or families. By going through the process, step parent adoptions give both parents the same rights to their children thus protecting them in the U.S., overseas, and even in custody cases.second parent adoption

“And at the end of the day, I think it’s wise to do it,” Brandy said.

Though she does share her displeasure with the entire process that LGBT parents have to go through that straight parents do not:

“We fight so hard for our LGBT rights and we’ve gotten to this point and this place in our country…and [step parent adoptions] sort of takes you back. Like, really?”

Brandy and Susan explain the process that their family went through when it came to their step parent adoption. It involved finding a good lawyer, filling out an adoption application, and speaking with a social worker.

When speaking about the social worker experience, Brandy said, “They were asking us sort of ridiculous, in my opinion, parenting questions.” She also adds that you should prepare yourself for this experience which may be uncomfortable: “I think it was really insulting to me that they were asking her these questions and me these questions and I had had this child and we had together made this decision together to have this child.”

Following the social worker meeting, families will have to go to court to complete the adoption process.

For Susan’s court date, the judge asked her, “Why should I grant you this right to adopt this child?” Susan said she responded quite awkwardly with, “Well, I’m kind of doing a lot of mother things.” She was happy though with how the judge responded, “You’re the mother and that’s why I’m doing it.” Susan said she could tell that the judge thought that the entire process was also a “silly precursor” to establish her parental rights.

Click here to read the entire article.

By Alex Temblador – TheNextFamily.com – April 15, 2016

Parent Adoption – Is it Right for Your family?

The “parent adoption” process is also referred to as Second Parent or Step Parent Adoption. Here is what you need and what you need to know!

When one partner or spouse in a relationship adopts the biological child of their parent or spouse that is referred to as a “Parent Adoption.” If the parties are unmarried, it is called a Second Parent Adoption.  When the parties are married, it is called a Step Parent Adoption.  While gay couples across the country enjoy equal marriage rights, the laws for New York State adoption are still muddled, and it’s advisable for most same-sex couples to petition for a second or step parent adoption to build that legal relationship between non biological parent and child. If there is another biological parent involved, or if a couple uses a known sperm donor, their consent will be required for the adoption to move forward.  If, however, the child is the product of an anonymous sperm donation, then no consent is required.2nd parent adoption, second parent adoption, second parent adoptions, second parent adoption new york

New York State Adoption Step by Step

In a nutshell, you need to compile a lot of paperwork and have a good family lawyer, preferably one that specializes in adoptions for same-sex couples. Here is a rundown of what you will need:

  • The completed intake from your attorney. This is a general questionnaire that includes information for both parents and the child.
  • The original birth certificate for the child. A copy will not suffice. You will, however, get a new original birth certificate after the adoption which will add the name of the adoptive parent if it is not already on the original birth certificate.
  • A letter from the employer of the petitioning parent, and in some counties the biological parent, stating their position and salary. If you are not currently employed, they will need your last year’s tax returns.
  • A letter from the doctor of both parents stating that they are in general good health.
  • A letter from the child’s pediatrician stating that he or she is in general good health.
  • A completed form 1-D (a more elaborate medical assessment) by the child’s pediatrician
  • In cases of a surrogacy, you will need copies of your carrier and donor agreement.
  • In cases of artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, a letter verifying insemination.
  • If married, a copy of your marriage license.
  • Previous divorce decrees if either parent has been previously married.
  • If either parent has ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, the details and disposition records for any offense must be submitted.
  • A list of every residence the petitioning parent has lived at for the past 28 years, including months and years associated with every address.
  • Financial information, including the value of your home, any owned real estate, stocks and bonds, life insurance information and any sources of income other than employment.
  • The petitioning parent must be fingerprinted for a criminal background check
  • A home study, which is generally arranged for once your lawyer has been retained.

Keep in mind that this process may vary slightly from state to state and county to county, so it’s important to find an attorney familiar with the legal details in your specific location. While the New York State parent adoption process may seem harrowing, keep in mind that your adoption attorney is there to help you, advise you and even help keep you organized every step of the way.  Read more about the process here.

Anthony M. Brown, head of Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, has extensive experience in helping same-sex couples through the adoption process, having gone through the process himself. If you have yet to create a legal relationship with your child or children, call 212-953-6447 or email Anthony at Anthony@timeforfamilies.com.

Surrogacy Ethics – Is It Selfish for a Gay Couple to Have Kids via Surrogacy?

Surrogacy ethics are in the news more and more around the world.  Are gay men’s options for family limited to adoption?

 

Question – My husband and I are gay and are exploring the possibility of having children using an egg donor and a surrogate mother. Sometimes when we mention this in conversation, people ask us, in a chiding tone, Why don’t you adopt? They often then argue that with so many children in need of good homes, it would be ethically superior for us to adopt, instead of spending a small fortune so we can have children to whom we are genetically tied. In addition, there are ethical issues related to paying women for their eggs or paying women to carry our children as surrogates. Are we acting unethically — or at the least selfishly or self-indulgently — in pursuing biological children instead of adopting orphans who could benefit from what (we like to think) would be a good home? David Lat, New York

adopt

Answer – Anybody who is contemplating having a baby, by whatever means, could be adopting a child instead. If those who chide you include people who have biological children themselves, you might want to point this out. Come to think of it, your friends who don’t have children are also free, if they meet the legal requirements, to adopt. Every child awaiting adoption is someone who could benefit from parental volunteers. There is no good reason to pick on you.

The path you have chosen, it’s true, mixes commerce and reproduction through egg donation and surrogacy. But while acquiring an egg and then working with a surrogate mother are transactions with ethical risks, they can each be conducted in morally permissible ways. The main concerns I would have as to surrogacy ethics are avoiding exploitation — so you need to make sure that the donor and the surrogate are acting freely and are fairly compensated — and taking care that your understanding with the surrogate mother is clearly laid out in advance. But any responsible agency that assists you in this should cover these bases.

Wanting a biological connection with your child is pretty normal: We evolved to pass on our genes, after all, even if we’re free to give Mother Nature the side-eye.

New York Times, By

Click here to read the entire article.

Second parent adoption process: New York State

The second parent adoption process for New York State: What you need and what you need to know!

The second parent adoption process is the process of a same-sex parent adopting their partner’s biological child, regardless of whether or not they are married or their relationship is legally recognized. While everyone has equal marriage rights now, the laws for New York State adoption are still striving to meet the modern day needs of our families, and it’s advisable for most same-sex couples to petition for a second parent adoption to build that legal relationship between non biological parent and child. Marriage is not necessary for second parent adoption. If the couple is married, they would then petition for a stepparent adoption, although the process is very similar.

adoption new york,new york adoption,new york state adoption, stepparent adoption process,adopting step children,co parent adoption,2nd parent adoption,second parent adoptions,gay adoption new york,gay couple adoption, gay couples adopting

 

New York State Adoption Process: What you need

In a nutshell, you need a lot of paperwork and a good family lawyer, preferably one that specializes in adoptions for same-sex couples. Here is a rundown of what you will need:

  • The completed intake from your attorney. This is a general questionnaire that includes information for both parents and the child.
  • The original birth certificate for the child. A copy will not suffice. You will, however, get a new original birth certificate after the adoption.
  • A letter from the employer of the petitioning parent, and in some counties the biological parent, stating their position and salary. If you are not currently employed, they will need your last year’s tax returns.
  • A letter from the doctor of both parents stating that they are in general good health.
  • A letter from the child’s pediatrician stating that he or she is in general good health.
  • A completed form 1-D (a more elaborate medical assessment) by the child’s pediatrician
  • In cases of a surrogacy, you will need copies of your carrier and donor agreement.
  • In cases of artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, a letter verifying insemination.
  • If married, a copy of your marriage license.
  • Previous divorce decrees if either parent has been previously married.
  • If either parent has ever been arrested or convicted of a crime, the details and disposition records for any offense must be submitted.
  • A list of every residence the petitioning parent has lived at for the past 28 years, including months and years associated with every address.
  • Financial information, including the value of your home, any owned real estate, stocks and bonds, life insurance information and any sources of income other than employment.
  • The petitioning parent must be fingerprinted for a criminal background check
  • A home study, which is generally arranged for once your lawyer has been retained.

Keep in mind that this process may vary slightly from state to state and county to county, so it’s important to find an attorney familiar with the legal details in your specific location. While the New York State adoption process may seem harrowing, keep in mind that your adoption attorney is there to help you, advise you and even help keep you organized every step of the way.

Anthony M. Brown, head of Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, has extensive experience in helping same-sex couples through the adoption process, having gone through the process himself. If you have yet to create a legal relationship with your child or children, call 212-953-6447 or email Anthony at Brown@awclawyer.com.

 

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2nd parent adoption of a stepchild?

2nd parent adoption of a stepchild in same sex couples: is it the right choice?

2nd parent adoption is the process of adopting the biological or adopted child of one’s spouse. While laws vary to some degree state to state, now that same-sex couples can legally marry they go through a very similar process as heterosexual couples do when adopting a spouse’s child.

Why go through 2nd parent adoption?

There are many reasons people choose to go through the process of adopting a stepchild; those reason could vary from wanting to create a strong cohesion in the family unit, to wanting the child to be able to receive an inheritance or even wanting legal rights as a parent to help make decisions on the child’s education, health and welfare.

 

When is 2nd parent adoption is not the best option?

Adopting a stepchild is a lifelong commitment and should not, under any circumstance, be taken lightly. While adopting a stepchild can strengthen a family’s cohesiveness, it’s not going to strengthen a marriage on the fritz and should not be used as a tool to try and “save” a relationship. It’s important to make sure you’re completing the adoption for the right reasons. If the parental relationship is going through bumpy times, the adoption process can add further stress and it’s probably best to wait until the parental relationship is on solid ground before beginning the adoption process. This goes for any stressful situation; if the family at large is going through a particularly stressful time, it might be best to wait.

 

My stepchild’s other biological parent is still out there. Can I adopt?

If your stepchild’s biological parent still retains their legal rights as their parent (regardless of the extent to which they participate in the child’s life), you must get them to sign an “adoption surrender” or “consent to adoption” form in order for you to begin the 2nd parent adoption process. This will relinquish their parental rights to that child. If they refuse to sign an adoption surrender, you will likely have a much harder time adopting your stepchild. In that situation, a termination of parental rights action would need to be brought against the other biological parent. Furthermore, if the child is older than 12 years of age, they will also need to consent to the adoption.

 

What else can I do?

A great way to prepare for the adoption process is with counseling. 2nd parent adoption can, and often does, yield a shift in the family harmony. Often this change is positive, but not always. It’s incredibly helpful to discuss everybody’s feelings, the ramifications of adoption, biological parents, etc. as you’re going through the legal process.

Regardless of the situation, 2nd parent adoption can be overwhelming to navigate on your own. As the head of Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, Anthony M. Brown provides experience and expertise in 2nd parent adoption and legal proceedings with same-sex couples and families. If you’re interested in adopting your stepchild and have any questions, call 212-953-6447 or feel free email any questions or concerns.  

Co parent adoption post-marriage equality

What does Co parent adoption in a post-marriage equality world look like?

Same-sex couples now have the right to marriage in the United States, however, there are still some legal implications that require consideration when it comes to family law and children. It’s important to remember in any union that just because a couple is married, parental rights of biological or adoptive children of one parent do not automatically transfer to that parent’s spouse. In order for both parents to have and practice their legal rights to make decisions for that child’s education, health and welfare, the family, in most cases, must complete a co parent adoption.

What is co parent adoption?

Co parent adoption is a legal procedure that allows a same-sex parent to adopt their partner’s biological or adopted child. This is similar to the stepparent adoption process. This gives the non biological or non adoptive parent parental rights towards the child.

 

Is going through all that paperwork really necessary?co parent adoption, co parent adoptions, second parent adoption new york, second parent adoption, second parent adoptions

In short, yes. While couples intend to stay together forever, break ups happen. In the event of a break up, if one parent hasn’t gone through the adoption process they may lose their rights to custody in the ensuing proceedings. The same goes in instances of death. If something should happen to the only legal parent of the couple’s children, making decisions thereafter for the child or children could be difficult if adoption proceedings have not been completed.

 

Why do we need co parent adoption if we are married and started our family together?

The only way in which a same-sex couple doesn’t need to go through a co parent adoption procedure is if they petitioned jointly to adopt their child or children. Until the Supreme Court decision of June 2015, the option of joint adoption by same-sex couples varied state to state. If the child is one parent’s biological child, as in the case of a surrogate or sperm donation, the other parent will still need to go through the co parent adoption process.

 

The adoption process can be an overwhelming endeavor. Whether you have already started the great adventure of parenting or are just beginning the process of starting your family, it’s important for same-sex parents to make sure all the legalities are both understood and taken care of. As the head of Nontraditional Family and Estates division of Albert W. Chianese & Associations, Anthony M. Brown specialises in co parent adoption and is here to help you navigate the ins and outs of same-sex legal issues and adoption. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call 212-953-6447 or drop me an email.