We’ve had the pleasure of helping many LGBT couples achieve their goal of starting a new family. Let us help and find the coorect avenue for reaching your dreams of having a family.
LGBT singles and couples face several unique legal issues when they decide to become a family with children. Now that gay marriage is legal in Florida, couples have several options they can follow:
- Single Adoption: this type of adoption is used by single, non-coupled, LGBT individuals who would like to adopt a child. This type of adoption can be achieved either by applying though the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) or through a private adoption agency or person who is willing to put up their child for adoption. The cost and wait times for each of these options can vary.
- Second Parent Adoption: take place when one member of a LGBT couple is already the legal parent of a child. If the “non-custodial” parent wishes to become a legal parent of that child, the original legal parent can give equal legal parental rights to their partner through a formal adoption.
- Step-parent Adoption: by definition this type of adoption is very similar to second a parent adoption with the exception that the LGBT couple must be legally married in order to qualify. The legal parent gives equal legal rights to their spouse over the child through this type of adoption. Without a stepparent adoption, the non-biological parent will have no legal rights to the child.
- Joint Adoption: allows LGBT couples equal participation in the adoption of a child by sharing equal legal rights. It is similar to the single adoption in process, except you are going through it as a couple with equal rights over the child, rather than as an individual.
It is important for couples, as well as single adopters, to understand the risks of not getting the proper advice during an adoption:
- Death: If an adoption has not been completed and the biological parent dies, the surviving parent could lose legal rights over the child. Additionally, in the event of a single adoption, if the parent has not left a will naming who will be the legal guardian of the child in the event of their death, the decision will be left to the court system and not the parent’s family.
- Legal and non-legal separation: again if an adoption is pending, but the partners separate, the non-biological parent may not be able to prove they have rights to the child. Additionally, there may be other considerations regarding child support and visitation rights that will also need to be considered.
Parents-to-be should be careful in getting the correct advice when moving forward with their adoption in order to limit the number of issues that they can potentially run into in the future as they start their new adventure as a family.