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Same-sex couples need to establish parental rights through adoption

Becoming a parent is one of the greatest joys many husbands and wives get to experience. In same-sex relationships, it is vital that each parent -- including the parent without a biological tie to the child -- establish and maintain their parental rights.

At the Law offices of Victoria S. Linder, PC, we routinely help same-sex couples establish legal relationships with their children through the adoption process. This is especially important for both parents in the event that there is a breakup or divorce. This legal process also protects parents in the event that a parenting decision needs to take place outside of the state of California.

Modern Family Act streamlines process for some same-sex couples

The National Center for Lesbian Rights provides a brief overview of the Modern Family Act. This law helps establish parenting rights for same-sex couples by better streamlining the process of adoption for non-biological parents.

The No. 1 thing for couples to realize is that marriage or having a name listed on a birth certificate does not guarantee parental rights for non-biological parents. Rather, one must go through the adoption process to guarantee rights.

The good news is that the Modern Family Act makes it easier to request a stepparent adoption, without needing a background check, court hearing or home investigation. However, as the ADOPT-050-INFO form clearly states, not all family situations are the same and parents are strongly encouraged to seek out legal advice from an attorney before moving forward with the process. Even though the process is simplified, not all couples will qualify and a judge can still order the standard background check, court hearing or home investigation if he or she thinks this is necessary.

Limitations to stepparent adoption

Additionally, this simplified stepparent adoption process is only available to partners who were married or registered as domestic partners when one partner gave birth to the child. Those using surrogacy need to follow a different adoption process. In cases where couples are not married or registered as domestic partners, second parent adoption is the process. This process, which is the same process used for independent adoption, can be quite complicated. Just like with any adoption in California, parents are strongly encouraged to reach out to an attorney to make sure that everything is handled appropriately and that rights are properly established.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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