We recommend to couples raising children as their own who are not biologically the children of both of them, that the non-biological parent go through the process of legally adopting the child or children. Why? Here are our top three reasons:
1. In the event something happens to the biological parent.
If you have not legally adopted your children, then you run the risk of a custody fight with your partner’s family if your partner passes away. This can be a particular problem in the LGBT community, where there may be family who did not approve of your relationship with your partner and may see this as their chance to ‘save’ the child from your influence. A legal adoption means you automatically have custody of your child if something happens to your partner and anyone seeking to challenge will have a harder time doing so.
2. Legal adoption ensures that the world at-large treats your child as your child.
While many schools, doctor’s offices, employers, insurance companies, etc. are very good about treating a non-biological parent as what they are—a true parent—without a legal adoption, many are not and will refuse to discuss the child with you, allow you to make appointments, allow you to make medical or educational decisions, or provide your child with the benefits they should have as your child. Sometimes schools or doctors who have previously been accommodating will stop being so when a death or divorce is in progress, out of fear that the increased scrutiny they are now under will open them to liability. A legal adoption means that your child is recognized legally as your child, providing you with all the protections a biological parent would enjoy.
3. You and your partner separate or divorce.
If you have not legally adopted your children, you face an uphill fight to secure joint custody, parenting time, or child support if you and your partner separate or divorce. Gaining these rights for a non-biological parent who has loved and raised a child as their own is possible (generally by a legal application to be considered a child’s psychological parent). However, psychological parent cases are often very difficult because your former partner may be angry and may prefer to see you emotionally hurt rather than look out for the best interest of your children. It happens more than you think. A legal adoption ensures that if you and your partner separate, the courts will treat you just like they would treat a biological parent who is entitled to joint custody, parenting time, and even child support if the situation merits it.
Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle specializes in family law, including adoption procedures. We loved doing adoptions! Call us for a free consultation and let’s make an affordable adoption plan that’s best for your family. 856-227-7888 or firstname.lastname@example.org