Quatela Chimeri, PLLC

Second-parent adoption adds essential protection

When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage in 2015 it was a major event for the LGBT community. While there has been significant progress in gaining rights for same sex couples, parenthood remains a challenging issue with different rules in every state. While New York’s laws are generally favorable to LGBT parents, traveling or interstate moves present a unique challenge.

In a same sex marriage, both partners may act as equal parents, but many states give preference to the biological parent, regardless of the relationship. Even if your name is on the birth certificate and you are married to the biological parent, another state might not recognize your relationship from a legal perspective.

What is second-parent adoption?

It is a parent’s job to plan for every situation your child may face, including the worst. That is why you should have a back-up plan ready, just in case a breakup, a sudden illness or another emergency occurs in state where only a recognized parent can make an important decision.

While each state recognizes parenthood in its own way, legal adoption is indisputable. In 2016’s E.L. v. V.L., the Supreme Court ruled that states have to recognize any adoption. New York allows for second-parent adoption, a process that legally appoints a second parent for a child. Second-parent adoption gives legal status to a non-biological parent in tandem with the “first-parent” who has a biological connection. It creates a legal connection between parent and child, just in case a dispute somehow comes up later on.

Insurance for the worst-case scenario

There have been important gains toward equal parental rights in recent years, but the legal system varies across state and international borders. Like choosing a guardian in a will, second-parent adoption is a safeguard that parents hope to never use, but the added legal protection can have a profound effect under certain conditions.

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