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The Legality of Parenting as a Same-Sex Couple

parentingIn the past, parenting was often solely an option for heterosexual couples. Whether through biological means or adoption, the nuclear family became the norm in American culture. Times have changed and this is now no longer the case. Many same-sex couples now have large families, both biologically and through adoption. Despite the open-mindedness that has now spread throughout the U.S., same-sex couples still experience legal differences in terms of parenting.

What Is Second Parent Adoption?

 In the eyes of the court, there is a difference between the biological parent and non-biological parent regardless of the amount of parenting each person actually does. This means that the non-biological parent does not have any legal rights of the child. If the child was sick in the hospital, only the biological parent is considered family. In the case of separation or divorce, the non-biological parent would have no right to see their child if the biological parent made that decision. While this may not be an issue when both parents are on good terms, this could become a problem if the marriage goes south. Many do not realize the power that emotions can have over a person until they experience heartbreak or a downhill marriage.

Second parent adoption, also known as co-parent adoption, is the best way to ensure that both parents have equal rights over the child. This form of adoption is now available in all 50 states. Unlike other forms of adoption, second parent adoption does not terminate the other parent’s rights to the child or make the other parent a step parent.

What Other Steps Should I Take?

Most families take co-parent adoption as their last step in the process to ensure equal rights of their child. An additional step that some families take is to create a custody agreement. This is similar to a prenuptial agreement. Both heterosexual and same-sex couples can create custody agreements in the case of divorce or separation. These agreements lay out the duties and expectations of each parent as well as a potential visitation schedule.

Contact a DuPage County Adoption Lawyer

Now that same-sex families have become less of a rarity, legal processes to officiate these families have followed suit. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC, we help all couples with the legal processes behind growing their families. If you are considering becoming a legal co-parent, contact our experienced Elmhurst adoption attorneys at 312-605-4041.

 

Sources:

http://www.nclrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Legal_Recognition_of_LGBT_Families.pdf

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

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