Even though same-sex marriage is the law of the land now, there can still be legal challenges, especially when there are minor children involved. Typically, this is the parent who is biologically tied to the child. In many same-sex marriages, that person (the biological parent) is customarily the only one with actual parental rights. This may be the case, even in situations where both spouses raise the child together. There is a process, known as a second-parent adoption, where a non-biological parent can be granted many of the same rights as the biological parent, with any loss of rights by the biological parent.
With a second-parent adoption, the child essentially has two legal parents. Once a second-parent adoption has been finalized, the non-biological parent will have the same rights as the first, or biological parent.
It’s important, though, to determine whether your state allows second-parent adoptions. If the concept is not available, your first step should b to prepare and sign a co-parenting agreement, which lays out the responsibilities and rights of both parties. As a general rule, under a co-parenting agreement, you and your spouse will have equal rights and responsibilities with respect to discipline and training, as well as medical treatment, financial support and inheritance. A co-parenting agreement will usually set forth the terms of child care, custody and visitation in the event of a divorce.
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To set up an appointment, call us in Haddonfield at 856-429-5005 or in Woodbury at 856-845-2555. We can also be reached in Philadelphia at 215-563-2150 or by e-mail. For clients with personal injury or workers’ compensation claims, we offer a free initial consultation, and will represent you on a contingency basis, only charging attorney fees if we recover compensation for you.
Our offices are open weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Weekend and evening appointments may be arranged upon request. We will also come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.