A Minneapolis Estate Planning Lawyer Stresses the Need for LGBT Couples to Complete Their Adoptions NOW!!!
I’m sure you’re now aware of the current Federal Administration’s continued hostility toward the LGBT community. It’s more important than ever that you take steps NOW to protect yourselves in any way you can! If you and your same-sex spouse or partner have a child together, you need to do a step-parent (or second-parent) adoption as soon as possible. The process can take several months so starting the process sooner is a good idea.
Should I adopt my child even if my name is on the birth certificate?
The landmark Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodge recognized for the first time same-sex marriage at the state and federal level. Passage of this monumental ruling strengthened the parental rights of same-sex parents; however, parenting rights continue to be largely influenced by state laws. In order to fully protect your family and your child, it remains important for second parents to adopt their child, even if they are on the birth certificate. Our Minnesota lawyers for the LGBT community at Unique Estate Law discuss the current legal status of non-biological parents and how you can preserve your parental rights as the second parent in a same-sex couple. Adding your spouse’s name to a birth certificate is NOT ENOUGH! You need to take further steps to protect your family NOW!
Minnesota’s Laws Concerning Same-Sex Parents
Prior to Minnesota’s recognition of same-sex marriage, if a same-sex couple chose to have a child together, only the biological parent would be considered legally a parent to the child. As marriage was not yet an option, second-parent adoption was the best way to establish legal custody of the child. Minnesota courts routinely granted second-parent adoptions to same-sex couples when it was deemed in the best interests of the child. Second-parent adoption provided the non-biological parent with equal legal footing as the biological parent.
As the law evolved, non-biological, same-sex parents gained more legal recognition. As of 2013, same-sex couples in Minnesota are permitted to marry. As of 2015, same-sex couples can marry nationwide. Couples who conceive or give birth to a child during the marriage in Minnesota are presumed to be the joint legal parents, regardless of whether just one parent is biologically related to the child.
Even though non-biological parents “should” now receive the presumption of full legal parentage, regardless of their gender, the potential for issues still exists. It is unclear whether the court will automatically assume the non-biological parent has the presumption of “legal parentage” where biology and adoption don’t exist. Of additional concern is the potential for changes to the current laws regarding same-sex marriage. The Trump administration has many LGBT couples afraid for their continued legal protection. For instance, Minnesota may be supportive of the non-biological parents rights via the marriage, but what happens if that parent travels to another state (or country) with the child? What if the institution in that state does not recognize parentage via marriage/birth certificate? A simple solution to that would be a court order!
To avoid the potential for challenges to your parental authority, it is still advised that non-biological parents adopt their children.