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Same-sex Couples, Second Parent Adoption And Co-parenting

On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family Law posted in adoption on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

In 2015, same-sex couples won an amazing victory when the law of the land changed to allow them to legally marry and enjoy all of the benefits that it brings. You and your partner may have taken the plunge and made your union official.

After you got married, you decided that a child would round out your new family. Perhaps one of you already has a child, either biologically or through adoption. Now, you want to make sure that each of you is a legal parent. You may decide to pursue a second parent adoption to make that happen.

What is second parent adoption?

A second parent adoption allows the parent who currently has no legal rights to the child to become a legal parent. The good part about such an adoption is that it leaves the parental rights of the “first parent” intact. A successful process results in the child you both love and raise having two legal parents.

Taking things one step further

Even after both of you are declared legal parents, it may be beneficial to take things one step further. Creating a co-parenting agreement protects each of your rights in the event you decide to divorce. Same-sex couple divorce and custody issues remain problematic for many couples whether here in Kentucky or elsewhere. Protecting yourself and your child needs to remain a priority.

Your co-parenting agreement can outline how you will share parenting responsibilities whether they be financial, medical or otherwise. You can also outline how the two of you would share custody if you divorce. This agreement provides further evidence to the court that you are a family.

What to include in your co-parenting agreement

At a minimum, your agreement can outline the following factors:

  • Who makes major decisions that affect the child’s future
  • Who the child will live with after the divorce
  • What will happen if one parent moves away
  • How to provide for medical care and education expenses
  • Whether you raise your child in a particular religion
  • How you will resolve any disagreements
  • What happens if one of you violates the terms of the agreement

Of course, you can add in any other provisions that fit your family’s needs. As long as they don’t violate public policy or current law, and protect the best interests of your child, the agreement should pass the scrutiny of the court if necessary.

Making it all happen

If you wish to pursue a second parent adoption and create a co-parenting agreement, you may need legal help. With what is at stake for your family, attempting to go it alone could put your child’s future in jeopardy. Finding the appropriate legal advocate could help things go more smoothly and provide you with a secure parental future.

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