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Using Second-Parent Adoption to Establish Parentage in LGBTQ Marriages

Posted on in Family Law

Using Second-Parent Adoption to Establish Parentage in LGBTQ MarriagesIt has been a little over four years since the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional to prevent same-sex couples from getting married. Since then, thousands of members of the LGBTQ community have solidified their relationships and tied the knot – but they still face a number of issues when it comes to the legalities of family dynamics. Many LGBTQ couples have decided to have children, whether through adoption, surrogacy or a sperm donor. Many states still have laws that only pertain to a man and a woman having children, posing issues for same-sex couples. One solution that Illinois, along with many other states, has created is the practice of second-parent adoption. 

What is Second-Parent Adoption?

A second-parent adoption, also known as a co-parent adoption, is often used by same-sex couples to solidify both parents’ legal relationship to the child. Many states’ laws still rely almost entirely on biological connections to establish parentage. In many cases, one parent in the same-sex couple is the biological parent of the child. Even if the couple is married at the time the child is born, the child is not considered to be the legal child of the other spouse because the spouse is not the biological parent of the child.

The Purpose of Second-Parent Adoption

A second-parent adoption can help same-sex couples by establishing the non-biological parent as the child’s legal parent. The unique thing about second-parent adoptions is that the child’s biological parent does not have to relinquish any of his or her parental rights to the child in order for his or her spouse to adopt the child. 

For example, in a lesbian couple that uses a sperm donor to conceive a child, the woman who carries and gives birth to the child is that child’s biological mother. Her legal rights and ties to the child cannot be contested. Even though the two women are married, the biological mother’s wife only has legal rights to the child through the mother. If something were to happen to the child’s biological mother, the child’s other mother would have no legal rights to him or her. In other words, the child’s mother would be a legal stranger to him or her. Completing a second-parent adoption can ensure the non-biological mother will always have legal parental rights to her child. 

A Will County LGBTQ Family Law Attorney Can Help You Solidify Your Parental Status 

It can be frustrating for some same-sex couples to start a family. Illinois’ parentage laws are based on a mother and a father as being the parents. Fortunately, Illinois allows same-sex couples to have the same parental rights as any other couple through the use of second-parent adoption. At The Foray Firm, we can help you and your spouse complete a second-parent adoption to solidify your legal relationship with your child. Contact our Joliet, IL, LGBTQ family law lawyers today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/us/gay-pride-lgbtq-same-sex-parents.html

https://www.hrc.org/resources/second-parent-adoption

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