There are several paths to creating a family for same-sex couples. Some may consider adoption and have questions about the process in Pennsylvania.
Adoption creates a permanent relationship between the adoptive parent and adoptive child. Once parents adopt a child, they are legally responsible to provide for the child’s needs until the child reaches adulthood. This responsibility remains in place even if the parents’ marriage is dissolved in the future.
Sometimes, a spouse wants to adopt the other spouse’s child. Couples may also consider adoption from Pennsylvania’s foster care system or through someone they know looking to make an adoption plan for his or her child. In every situation, the adoptive parents must present a petition for adoption to the court.
The petition includes information such as the adoptive parents’ names, ages, marital status and their relationship to the adoptee. It also states that the adoptive parents are requesting to establish a parent and child relationship with the adoptee.
Termination of parental rights
Before the child can be adopted, the child’s biological parent must either voluntarily terminate his or her parental rights or the court must find that there are grounds to involuntarily terminate them.
In a voluntary termination, the biological parent agrees to permanently give up all parental rights to the child.
The court may involuntarily terminate the biological parent’s rights if it finds that the parent’s conduct within the last six months demonstrates that he or she has refused to perform parental duties, in cases where there is abuse or neglect or in other situations.
Once the biological parent’s rights are terminated by the court, that parent no longer has any legal responsibility for the child and the child can be legally adopted by the adoptive parents.
Consent for adoption
In situations where a spouse wants to adopt the other spouse’s child, the spouse of the adopting parent must consent to the adoption, unless he or she joins in the adoption petition. Pennsylvania also requires that if the adoptee is over 12 years old, he or she must consent to the adoption.
An experienced attorney can help same-sex couples navigate the adoption process, answer their questions and support them on their path to creating a forever family.