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Co-Parent Adoption for Same-Sex Couples

Legal obstacles make it substantially more difficult for parents to adopt together as a same-sex couple. Prospective parents must elect one person to file the court documents for adoption, while the other must remain anonymous. Problems can arise when one parent has sole custody. Although you plan to raise the child together, the parent with custody has the legal right to make all the major decisions for the child unilaterally — decisions that matter if the couple should choose to break up.

To prevent problems like these, some states have begun to recognize what is known as a second-parent adoption — an adoptive situation in which both parents form a shared legal bond with the child. At present, there are only 19 states and the District of Columbia that permit this type of co-parent adoption. These states include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Can co-parent agreements be enforced out-of-state?

Even if you live in a state that does not recognize second-parent adoption, do not feel discouraged about your rights to maintain contact with a child you raised. Many states support the right of same-sex couples to co-parent through other means. Courts are authorized to enforce agreements that act in the best interests of the child and, every day, lawyers are working to break down the barriers that keep families apart.

If you have an interest in either a domestic or international adoption, contact the law office of Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP to schedule an initial consultation. Our experienced adoption attorneys look forward to helping gay, lesbian and transgender couples to achieve their adoption goals in New York City’s five boroughs, including Long Island.

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