A legal adoption allows one person who is not the biological parent of a child to legally become their official parent. Adoption happens for many reasons in modern Pennsylvania.
Sometimes, a couple cannot add children to their family biologically, so they turn to adoption. Other times, family members have to adopt children when parents die, struggle with addiction or go to prison. Stepparents also sometimes choose to adopt their stepkids.
Another group of families often needs to look at adoption for expanding the family. LGBTQ+ couples may need to turn to adoption if both partners are of the same sex. Even if there are already children in the family, adoption may be important for one of the parents.
Adoption clarifies legal rights if a same-sex couple divorces
Same-sex divorces are a new area of law compared to heterosexual divorce. There are only a few laws and previous legal cases that directly address the unique concerns of LGBT+ couples. Child custody matters can still become complicated quickly, often because only one parent has a biological or legal relationship with the children.
If only one parent adopted the children, then the other could be at a disadvantage during custody proceedings. The same is true of when one parent carries the child or contributes genetic materials but the other doesn’t. Thankfully, Pennsylvania does allow third-party custody requests, which means you can ask for custody without adopting first.
Adopting during an LGBT+ marriage is smart for several reasons. It solidifies the relationship of each parent to the children. If one parent dies or the couple divorces, adoption will make handling custody matters much easier. Knowing that you may need to seek an adoption to legally protect yourself can help you preserve your most important relationships.