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Same-sex couples and adoption

Florida same-sex couples who have children may want to consider second-parent adoption. This is a way of ensuring that a child who is biologically related to one but not both parents will legally be considered the child of both parents. According to the Supreme Court, every state must recognize second-parent adoptions from any other state, so this process will protect the parent-child relationship anywhere in the country.

Despite the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that granted marriage rights to same-sex couples, there is not yet a consistent law in place regarding parents and children. As a result, if the biological parent dies or if same-sex parents divorce, the non-biological parent may not have any legal claim to custody.

The process of adoption varies among jurisdictions and it may involve a significant investment of time and money. Married same-sex couples may adopt each others' children as step-parents, but unmarried partners will require a home study. However, because family law is based on the presumption that there is a mother and father, it is largely necessary to seek legal advice since existing law often does not readily address the issue. Changes are underway in some areas. In Washington, D.C., for example, the law has shifted toward what is known as parenting based on intent. This standard regards any two adults who intend to raise the child as their own as legal parents regardless of the biological relationship.

Same-sex couples who are interested in having children together might want to talk to an attorney about their options. Another possibility is adopting a child who is not biologically related to either parent. Same-sex couples may identify their future adopted child through a direct connection, or seek to be matched through a licensed, qualified adoption attorney.  Or they might consider international adoption. The attorney will be able to anticipate any potential legal pitfalls that a same-sex couple may face and offer possible solutions.

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