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In a same-sex relationship where the couple is married and has a child, both biological parents are automatically granted parental rights and custody over that child. This allows both parents to make decision about the child, and protects both parents in the event of a divorce; both parents may have the right to child custody or visitation with that child, and both may also be obligated to pay child support.

However, in a same-sex relationship, parental custody can be much more complicated. In the event that only one person in the relationship is the biological parent of the child, the other parent may have no legal rights over the child. If this is the case, second-parent adoption can give the second parent the same legal rights as the biological parent.

What Is Second-Parent Adoption?

Second-parent adoption is known by many names, including co-parent adoption and same-sex adoption. All three terms refer to the same thing: the rights of a second parent to legally adopt a child without the first parent losing any parental rights. Second-parent adoptions most commonly take place in the event that one partner in same-sex relationship gives birth to a child. Even you are married or in a civil union at the time of your child’s birth, if you are not the biological parent, you should seek a parental judgment from a court to validate your parental rights.

What Are the Benefits of a Co-Parent Adoption?

There are many benefits of a co-parent adoption. When you are your child’s legal parent, your parental rights are protected under the law. Not only will this give you access to your child’s medical records and allow you to make medical decisions on your child’s behalf (imagine if your child was injured and you were not allowed to see him or her because you were not considered to be the “legal” parent), but it also protects you in the event that you and your partner or spouse separate. If you separate or divorce, your legal parental status will allow for you to petition for custody of and visitations rights with your child. This also means that your child’s other parent cannot legally take the child away from you without permission from the court, protecting your relationship with your child.

If you and your spouse divorce and you are not legally considered to be your child’s parent, petitioning for custody can be much more difficult.

Learn More About Second-Parent Adoption in Illinois Today

If you are the non-biological parent of a child and would like to legitimize your parental relationship in the eyes of the law, you are encouraged to reach out to an experienced Illinois child custody and family law attorney today. Our attorneys can help you to file for a second-parent adoption, and can protect your rights to custody of your child in the event of a separation or divorce. At Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., our child custody attorneys can meet with you to discuss your family’s needs today. Reach us at 630-961-0060 for a free case consultation.

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