Second Parent Adoption

A second parent adoption, also known as a co-parent adoption, is a legal remedy that allows a same-sex parent to adopt their partner’s biological or adoptive child without any termination of the first parent’s legal status as a parent. In doing this, the original parent is thus not required to relinquish any of their legal rights, and the judgment will provide equal responsibilities and rights to all of the child’s legal parents. Second parent adoptions can also refer to a step-parent who wishes to adopt their spouse’s child.

When same-sex marriages were not recognized prior to the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, second-parent adoptions enabled the same sex partner to become the adoptive stepparent to their partner’s child. California second parent adoptions are recognized even in states that do not award second parent adoptions.

There are many reasons why a couple would seek to have a second parent adoption. The most common is when a same-sex couple utilizes assisted reproductive technology or adopts a child. For example: A second parent adoption allows the other parent to become a legal parent as well. Also, although second parent adoptions are legal in many states including California, they are not legal everywhere. Therefore, if a couple moves out of state to a state such as Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, or Wisconsin, absent a second parent adoption from a recognizing state, the non-legal parent has no legal right to that child. States that have outlawed second parent adoptions are however, still obligated to honor a second parent adoption granted from another state.

Step-parent/domestic partner adoptions differ from second parent adoptions by being available to all couples, regardless of whether or not they are married or in a domestic partnership. Second parent adoption has traditionally been the only remedy available for a couple that is not in a legally recognized marriage or domestic partnership.

A second parent adoption ensures that vital members of a child’s family cannot be separated or excommunicated from their child and their rights against their will. If you wish to obtain a second-parent adoption order, our office can help you with the process. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

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