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LGBTQ Adoption: What is second-parent adoption?

Even though LGBTQ couples can legally marry nationwide, there are still complications when it comes to building a family. One phrase that often comes up is “second-parent adoption,” which generally refers to a spouse or partner adopting their partner’s biological child. However, many wonder whether it is necessary for their situation. Today, we cover second-parent adoption as it applies to LGBTQ couples.

How is second-parent adoption different from stepparent adoption?

 In general, second-parent adoption applies in Florida when a couple – gay or straight – is unmarried. It allows for someone to adopt their partner’s child without terminating the first parent’s legal parental rights. This is what separates it from step-parent adoption, the process used by married couples.

Who should consider second-parent adoption?

Any partnership where one person is biologically related to the child and the other is not may need to go through second-parent adoption. One example of a situation where second-parent adoption might be necessary would be:

Two women are legally married to each other and decide to start a family. They opt to use one partner’s egg and a donor’s sperm, and that partner births the child. The other partner, even though they are married, technically does not have legal rights to the child. Even if they appear on the child’s birth certificate, they could encounter problems in states where the law disfavors LGBTQ adoption.

What can we expect from a second-parent adoption?

In many ways, a second-parent adoption follows the same procedures as any other type of adoption. The second parent often must meet with a social worker and complete parenting evaluations. The process can seem daunting at first, but an experienced Florida adoption attorney can help keep things moving smoothly. 

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