Second Parent Adoptions involve the adoption by a partner or spouse who is not the biological parent of their partner’s child. These are virtually identical to stepparent adoptions and typically involve LGBTQ parents who want to provide the extra certainty that adoption brings to the child.
Second parent adoption gives you a final judgment of parentage so no one in any state can question your relationship with your child.
Maybe you’re thinking that that famous case decided by the United States Supreme Court, Obergefell v. Hodges, means you don’t need to adopt the biological child of your partner? In Obergefell, the Court held that same-sex parents have the same right to marry as straight parents. We applaud this ruling! We also know, however, that it did not answer what happens to the rights of the child to inherit from the non-biological parent.
Adoption creates rights of inheritance if the second parent dies without a will. What if you get divorced or a biological parent dies? Adoption protects the second parent’s rights in case of divorce or death.
Finally, adoption gives both parents a final judgment making the second parent the legal parent. This means that wherever you live, every state official must recognize and enforce the judgment—even in states that are hostile to LGBTQ families.
In these second parent adoption cases, both parents “petition” the court for the nonbirth parent (second-parent) to adopt the child. If another biological parent supports adoption, there are complicated procedures to follow, such as signing a proper consent to adoption. We handle that process. A background check will usually still apply to the second parent and we can advise you on how to complete that, as well. A home study often must be done, too, but that may be waived. We help you by filing motions for waivers of home studies.
What about the child’s inheritance rights? In Minnesota, and most states, the law protects the child’s rights to inherit from his biological parents, even after the second-parent adoption is finalized.
We can handle all of these issues. We show up at court with you after we have drafted and filed a final judgment and decree of adoption. When the adoption is final, our work isn’t done. We then assist you in obtaining a new birth record showing the second-parent as a co-equal parent on the child’s birth record.