After The Supreme Court Opinion, Do My Spouse And I Still Have To Do A Second-Parent Adoption?

 What is Second Parent Adoption?Are you wondering whether a second parent adoption is still necessary after the Supreme Court’s recent opinion on same-sex marriage? In short, yes it is. While Obergefell was a giant stride for same-sex folks, it is important not to conflate marriage rights with parentage rights. The same parentage issues that used to be present for same-sex couples where one parent is the biological parent and one parent is the non-biological parent will continue into the foreseeable future.

Many of our same-sex clients from Maryland, for instance, are thrilled that their respective spouse can be listed on a Maryland birth certificate as the parent.  However, the birth certificate just provides a presumption of parentage which can be rebutted (think of a known sperm donor asserting paternity rights or a spouse in an unhappy marriage denying the non-biological parent’s parentage). Further, across the country, parentage presumptions and statutes vary. Some of them allow that the parentage presumption is rebutted by biological impossibility. So, for clients visiting states with parentage statutes that do not recognize their parental status, their parentage may be vulnerable to attack.

We (and other equal-minded organizations) continue to strongly recommend second-parent adoptions for same-sex clients where one parent is the biological parent and one is the non-biological parent, even where the clients are married. Marriage is great, but it does not necessarily secure parentage. An Order from a Court, however, will receive full faith and credit wherever you reside or visit in the United States.

The attorneys at McCabe Russell, PA, have offices in Howard County and Montgomery County, Maryland, and have helped hundreds of same-sex clients through the adoption process. Please contact the firm to make an appointment for a consultation.

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