Earlier this month, we posted a blog entitled “Family law for modern families.” In that post, we noted that the “typical” modern American family does not always include members related by blood or marriage. Family in America is evolving to mean those that one considers to be family. The law is catching up with the evolution of the American family by recognizing and protecting the rights of individuals made in committed, unmarried relationships, same-sex couples and other non-traditional family structures.
While progress has been made in this area, the evolution of this law has not been uniform in every state. For example, in some states, unmarried couples may pursue legal adoption of children. In other states, they may not. Finally, in some states an unmarried secondary parent may adopt a child if the child’s biological mother or father retains his or her parental rights. This is a form of step-parent adoption for committed, unmarried individuals acting as step-parents.
If you are interested in adopting a child as an unmarried couple, it is important to retain the counsel of a local attorney experienced in your state’s adoption process. Because this area of law evolves at such a rapid pace, it is important that you hire someone who demonstrates a full understanding of current adoption law.
Your family is no more or less legitimate than any other family simply because your family may have a non-traditional structure. Whether or not the law in your state has made progress in protecting your family’s right to adopt is a matter for an experienced attorney to explain.
Source: Findlaw, “Can Unmarried Couples Adopt Children?” Aditi Mukherji, Jan. 9, 2014