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How Second Parent Adoption Can Benefit Same-Sex Couples

 Posted on April 16, 2018 in Adoption

Lombard family law attorneyOn June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that states could no longer legally ban gay individuals from getting married. Since then, many same-sex couples have married, and some have chosen to start families of their own. Being a same-sex couple can bring up certain legal complications when children are involved, but fortunately, Illinois has measures in place to help potential parents obtain parental rights. One method some same-sex couples use to legally adopt a child into their family is second-parent adoption, also called co-parent adoption.

Second Parent Adoption Does Not Require Terminating Anyone’s Parental Rights

In most circumstances, when a person wishes to adopt a child, the child’s original parent or parents must terminate their parental rights. For example, when a woman places a baby up for adoption after giving birth, she signs documents which relinquish her rights to that child. A second-parent adoption is unique in that a parent can adopt a child without the child’s other parent losing their parental rights.

Being a legal parent of a child is important for several reasons. For example, if an accident leaves one of the parents or the child incapacitated in some way, only those parents with a legally-recognized relationship will have full authority over health care decisions. When both members of a same-sex couple are legal parents of the child in question, it can prevent possible conflicts regarding jurisdiction and competence. For instance, if a child’s only legal parent is his or her biological father, the father’s significant other has no legal power to make decisions for the child – even if he has been acting as a parent and raising the child for years. If the legal parent passes away or becomes incapacitated due to injury or illness, this could mean that the child may not be able to stay with the father’s partner. In some cases, children are actually removed from their home.

The Second Parent Adoption Process

If you are considering second-parent adoption, you will need to file a petition with your county court. You will probably be required to appear in family court to answer some questions and to demonstrate that you and your partner are capable parents. Sometimes, you will be required to undergo a home study, but this is probably not required if the children are already living in your home. If you are required to pass a home study, do not panic. The inspector will only check to make sure the home is clean, safe, and appropriate for a child.

An Illinois Adoption Attorney Can Help

An experienced Lombard family law attorney can help with any further questions you have about adoption. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule your initial, confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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