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Is second parent adoption for same-sex couples a good option?

Photo of Karen Lavin

Illinois legislature makes adoption a viable prospect for anyone who is fit and able enough to raise a child. For same-sex partners, adoption can be a tricky issue, especially if one of the spouses is the child's biological parent. Second parent adoption can solve some of the legal issues that may arise in same-sex partnerships that involve children.

Essentially, second parent adoption is an option in which the child's second parent can legally adopt a child without the first or biological parent losing parental rights. This type of adoption gives both of the child's caregivers or parents a legal claim over the child.

Why is this important? Unfortunately, same-sex marriages share many of the problems associated with traditional marriages. This includes divorce and child custody issues. A second parent adoption preserves the non-biological or second parent's rights to continue parenting the child regardless of the lack of biological ties. This option also preserves the family unit if the biological parent should die or become incapacitated.

The requirements for second parent and other adoptions in Illinois are few. Some of these requirements include:

-- Being free of legal disability

-- Residing in Illinois continuously for not less than six months (90 days for armed forces members)

-- Being reputable and of legal age regardless of gender

-- If married or in a civil union partnership, applicants must have resided together for at least 12 months

This information is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the topic of adoption for same-sex partners. If you are your spouse are considering some form of adoption, speaking with a family law attorney is an excellent first step.

Source: Human Rights Campaign, "Second Parent Adoption," accessed March 10, 2016

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