Legally recognizing a same-sex partner's rights to care for and provide for a child is an important part of a same-sex relationship — it is a vital step in making a family whole. The same is true when a same-sex couple decides to adopt a child or add a child to their household through assisted reproduction methods.
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At Berman & Asbel, LLP, we recognize that you are not just a case or file number. This is why we provide personalized, dedicated representation to everyone we represent. We take on your legal concerns as if they were our own and we set out to achieve the results you need.
For experienced legal assistance with gay adoption or second-parent adoption in the Philadelphia area, contact Berman & Asbel, LLP, and schedule an initial consultation.
The Legal Parent-Child Relationship
Parents and children of heterosexual couples enjoy built-in protections recognized under Pennsylvania law. However, the same protections are not automatic for gay and lesbian couples. For most same-sex couples with children, one partner is the biological parent of a child conceived through surrogacy, sperm donation or another assistive reproduction method. While the other partner may serve as a parent in terms of nurture, discipline and financial support, the partner does not automatically have the protections of the legal parent-child relationship, nor does the child.
Legal Protections Granted Through Adoption
Pennsylvania law permits married and unmarried gay couples to adopt a child into their household. In a same-sex relationship, the partner who is not the biological parent of the child may become a legal parent under the law through a second-parent adoption. Second-parent adoptions give both the parent and child many benefits and protections:
- Protections for the child: Second-parent adoptions enable the child to be covered as a dependent of the nonbiological parent for health insurance and life insurance benefits. Additionally, adoption provides the child with inheritance rights if the parent dies without a will and rights to federal benefits, such as Social Security benefits, if the nonbiological parent dies or becomes disabled while the child is a minor. At the same time, the parental relationship of the partner who is the biological parent is preserved.
- Protections for the nonbiological parent: Without a second-parent adoption, the nonbiological parent could potentially lose all interaction with the child if the relationship ends or if the biological parent dies while the child is a minor. Second-parent adoptions give the nonbiological parent legal rights as a parent in future potential custody, visitation and child support issues.
Our family law attorneys assist same-sex couples with second-parent adoptions to ensure the relationship between each parent and child has the full protection of the law. We handle all aspects of gay adoptions such as preparing clients for the home study and other procedures (only in cases where it is required or necessary). For example, home study is no longer a requirement for married same-sex couples in second parent adoptions.
Contact Our Trusted Pennsylvania Lawyers
If you have questions about adopting a child through gay adoption or second-parent adoption procedures in Pennsylvania, contact us online and schedule an initial consultation. You may also call our family law office at 484-842-0276.