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Second Parent Adoption

Posted on in Adoption

Lombard family law attorneySame-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states, with all the attendant rights and responsibilities that marriage entails. Parenting for same-sex couples can be tricky, however, as certain legal issues are likely to arise. Fortunately, the state of Illinois has measures in place to help same-sex parents obtain and exercise parental rights in variety of situations. One such option is a second parent adoption, or SPA.

SPA Defined

Second parent adoption is defined as an adoption in which a second parent may adopt a child without the first losing any parental rights. Normally, adoptions require a parent to renounce his or her parental rights—or to have them terminated—in favor of another caregiver, but SPA allows both caregivers to have legal rights regarding the child.

This can be critical in the case of something like a change in the law, or an accident that leaves one parent or the child incapacitated in some way. If both halves of the couple are the legal parents of the child, it can prevent most potential battles over competence and jurisdiction. For example, if only a child’s biological mother is their legal parent, the mother’s same-sex partner has no legal authority to make decisions for the child. In extreme circumstances, this could even lead to the child being removed from their home if the legal parent is deceased or disabled.

The Process

If a child is born to a married woman, the mother’s spouse—regardless of gender—is presumed to be the child’s second legal parent. Such a presumption, however, does not apply in every situation. It may still be necessary to draw up a surrogate or donor agreement, depending on what method you choose to use for your child to be born. A surrogate or donor a donor is required to relinquish their parental rights, and if they do not, it can prove problematic and expensive to fight that battle in the future.

While SPA may sound very intimidating, the steps are all but formalities in most cases. A petition must be filed, and you will need to appear in family court at least once to answer questions and to show that you and your spouse are fit to raise children. A home study may be necessary, but if the child is already living in the home, this is not always required. If it is, it must satisfy the requirements that your home is safe, clean and appropriate for a child. Compliance with the city fire and health codes may be checked. Your personal taste or anything of that nature will not be relevant.

An Adoption Attorney Can Help

Protecting your children’s future is an enormous step for any family and can mean the difference between your family staying together and falling apart. To learn more about second parent adoptions in Illinois, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3638&ChapterID=59

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners
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