With the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, it is easy to assume that legal marriage guarantees that the parental rights of same-sex couples are automatically protected. However, the rights of parents, especially those of non-biological parents, vary widely from state to state. In many cases simply being married may not be enough to ensure the parental rights of a non-biological parent.
Marriage equality is an important first step in recognizing the validity of all families. However, it is only a first step, and legal marriage does not automatically guarantee parental rights. Therefore, it is important for all non-biological parents to discuss their situation with qualified legal counsel in order to determine the best course of action for their families.
How to Protect Your Parental Rights
In most cases, it is vital that non-biological parents get an adoption or court judgment of parentage in order to protect their parental rights. This step is important for all families that have a non-biological parent and it applies to same-sex or different-sex couples equally. Legal recognition is the single best way to ensure that all parental rights are protected at all times. Since state laws do vary widely, legal recognition of parentage is needed to ensure that parental rights are protected and the family does not become vulnerable when traveling or moving to a different state.
In a same-sex couple in which one partner is the biological parent, the other partner can obtain legal parental rights through a Second Parent Adoption. This process is fairly simple, although it does require some steps which may seem tedious and unnecessary given the circumstances, such as criminal background checks and a home study. Alexander Law Firm is happy to counsel and represent you in obtaining a Second Parent Adoption.
All families, whether they consist of biological or non-biological parents, deserve to be recognized and protected. Don’t delay meeting with legal counsel to discuss your situation and to ensure that your family is protected.
If you have questions about your family’s situation, are facing discrimination, or are having difficulty with a legal adoption or recognition of your parenting status, contact Alexander Law Firm. We will listen to you, discuss your options, and help advocate for your rights.