Adoption options for a same sex family are greatly expanded with the United States Supreme Court decision of Obergefell Et. al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio, Department of Health, Et. al., 135 S. Ct. 2071 (2015) which recognized the constitutional right to marry for same sex couples and recognized the marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawful licensed and performed. This case is significant as now a same sex couple who is lawfully married may petition for a step-parent adoption to obtain legal recognition of parental status for the parent who is not the biological parent.
If a same sex couple has decided not to marry but still forms a parent-child bond with the children of their partner and seeks to have legal recognition of that parental status, a second parent adoption provides that permanency. A second parent adoption is one in which a parent is added onto the birth certificate of a child. Historically, second parent adoptions have been used by same sex couples to have a same sex partner adopt their partner’s child. With the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell, same sex couple now have two options to pursue in family formation, step-parent and second parent. The differences are significant as under a second parent adoption, a petitioning party must secure a home study and the adoption is required to use and Adoption Entity. A step-parent adoption is classified as a relative adoption and many of the statutory requirements under second parent adoption are waived in step-parent adoptions.
While second parent adoptions historically have been utilized by same sex couples to establish legal recognition of parent child relationships, they can be used in cases when an unmarried adult seeks to adopt a child and a biological parent does not want to relinquish their parental rights.
Our attorneys at Clarie Law are happy to meet with your family to determine which adoption option is best for your family. Attorney Senentz has authored Adoption Options for the Same Sex Family Under Florida Law in Strategies for Family Law in Florida, Aspatore, Thompson Reuters, 2015.
Our firm can assist you in accomplishing the legal recognition of your family unit. This is especially important so your children can enjoy the many benefits from the legal acknowledgment of parentage. Our attorneys are particularly well equipped to advise you on all aspects of same sex family planning, including estate planning to provide optimal protections for your children.