AdoptionEditor's Pick

Second parent adoption is a benefit in many states

A second parent adoption is a legal procedure that allows a same-sex parent to adopt a partner’s biological or adoptive child without terminating the legal rights of the first parent. States must honor second-parent adoptions from other states.

Second-parent adoption is authorized in California by statute – and where appellate courts have ruled that the state adoption law permits second-parent adoption.

A statute is a law passed by a legislature. An appellate court is about appeals. It has the power to review the judgment of another lower court or tribunal.

Second-parent adoption is authorized by statute in Colorado, Connecticut, and Vermont.

Appellate courts have ruled that the state adoption law permits second-parent adoption in the District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Trial courts have granted second-parent adoptions in Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington.

Appellate courts have ruled that state adoption law does NOT permit second-parent adoption in Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

It is unclear in the following 22 states whether the state adoption law permits second- parent adoptions: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Source: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Photo: Family Equality Council

5 thoughts on “Second parent adoption is a benefit in many states

  • Anonymous

    I am helping to raise 5 year old twins from my wifes pervious relationship. Her ex-partner, the children’s biological parent, threatens to limit visitation when she does not get what she wants from us. We have the children 50% of every week (and often more than that) and pay for 50% of ALL expenses related to the children. This has been going on for 2.5 years. We would like to seek a second parent adoption in Missouri. The birth mother states that is “not needed” but has not said she would contest it. If anyone has any information that would help us please respond. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    My wife and I will be living in Ohio where our California marriage will not be recognized. We plan to conceive this summer. Indiana has second parent adoption. If we drove to Indiana to deliver the baby, could we get second parent adoption even though we would be Ohio residents?

  • Anonymous

    I am looking for a case on second parent adoption where the partners are no longer together. My partner and myself where together for 13 years. During that time my partner had 2 children by a donor. We had the money for me to adopt the first child now 5 1/2 but not for the second child who is 3. We have no separated and my ex partner still wants me to adopt the second child. I have asked how to go about this and we where told that they don’t usually grant adoption to parents that are not still together. We live in New Jersey. Have you come across any cases where the adoption has taken place. The biological Mother also wants this to take place. I have been granted visitation for both children. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    My partner and I have been raising my biological daughter for the past 4yrs. We have been working on adoption for my ex partner to have and maintain legal rights. However our relationship did not last through the adoption.
    Now my ex and I are on a quest to get some form of legal rights for her so that she never feels as though our daughter will be taken away from her, especially if something were to ever happen to me.
    I have emailed lawyers and contacted so may different people that I think in the state of Indiana, our only option is POA and health care POA.
    If you come up with something before I do, please let me know. This is terrible that I can not give my partner the same rights as myself nor the safe feeling that I would never take her away. Please email me if you find any new information at tcleirer@yahoo.com

  • Anonymous

    My partner and I adopted/readopted our first daughter in 2001. In 2003, I adopted in another country and waited to readopt/2nd parent adopt until my partner became ill. We began the process and she paid the lawyer. However, my partner died before the court heard the case. Lawyer 1 dropped the issue, so I found Lawyer 2. Still waiting for the case to be heard in NJ where we live. Have lots to prove her intent to adopt, but there appear to be no cases of the same topic. This child, now 6, needs SSI until college, just like the first. I, of course, get nothing as the civil union partner! Why isn’t someone fighting more for this? As families, we need the financial circumstances that are in place for M/W couples, if one passes on. Civil Union is only a half rate name for a no rate offer. Marriage needs to be the offer, with all its benefits.

Comments are closed.