While adoption for same-sex couples may have been difficult in the past, it’s now a common way for LGBT parents to grow their families — with the same adoption rights and parental rights as any straight couple.
If you’re considering LGBT adoption in Arizona, you’ve come to the right place. Not only can MyersStrickland help you complete the same-sex adoption process, but we also offer the critical service of making sure that your parental rights to your child are protected, no matter how you create your family.
We are committed to representing your rights in a same-sex couple adoption in Arizona and can help you understand what adoption processes are available to you based on your situation. To learn more today, please call us at 520-327-6041. You can also read a review of our LGBT adoption services here.
Below you’ll find some more information about what to expect from an LGBT adoption in Arizona. (For LGBT families building their family through assisted reproduction, click here.)
How to Complete a Same-Sex Adoption in Arizona
When it comes to building your family through LGBT adoption, there are a few ways you can do so. Which process you take will likely depend upon your individual situation.
Whereas same-sex couples could not adopt jointly in all states before the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, married LGBT couples now have the same rights to adopt together as any other married couple. However, being married is the only way you can adopt a child as a gay couple, as second-parent adoptions are not legally recognized in Arizona.
Here’s what you need to know about the processes available to you for a same-sex adoption in Arizona:
Adopting Jointly as a Married Couple
If you are a married same-sex couple in Arizona, you can complete the typical adoption process (whether that’s through the foster system, through private domestic infant adoption or international adoption) in the same manner as any other married couple. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to work with an adoption agency or complete the adoption independently with an adoption lawyer.
When you choose to pursue an adoption in Arizona as a married couple, you should make sure you choose an adoption professional who will protect your right to adopt as a same-sex couple. While it’s typically not a problem, there are professionals who will not work with same-sex couples. Therefore, make sure you do diligent research before deciding to work with a certain adoption professional.
MyersStrickland can only provide the legal services for a LGBT adoption, but we may also be able to provide you references to open-minded adoption professionals we trust for starting your same-sex adoption process.
Adopting a Child through a Stepparent Adoption
If you’ve recently married someone who previously adopted a child on their own, or you and your spouse were unable to adopt jointly at the time your child came into your home, you can still become a legal parent of that child, as well. You can protect your parental rights through a stepparent same-sex adoption.
The stepparent adoption process is the same for gay couples adopting as it is for straight couples adopting: You must have been married for at least one year and lived with the child for at least six months to avoid the need for a home study (or social study).
However, if you don’t meet the marriage-length requirements, you might be able to still complete a stepparent adoption today. It’s best you talk to your lawyer about your individual situation and what requirements your LGBT adoption will require.
Adopting as an Unmarried Couple or as a Single Person
Unfortunately, if you are not married, you cannot jointly adopt a child in Arizona. While some states allow for second-parent adoptions for unmarried couples, in Arizona, you will need to be married for both partners to be recognized as legal parents in a same-sex adoption. Once you are married, you can complete a stepparent adoption or adopt jointly together.
But, if you’re not in a relationship at all, that doesn’t prevent you from adopting a child. Just like any straight single person, you can adopt a child in Arizona as long as you are over the age of 18. You will also have to undergo an adoption home study and other background clearances. As long as you can prove you are just as capable as caring for a child as any married couple (financially, emotionally or physically), you should not encounter any additional challenges to your LGBT adoption in Arizona.
Concerns You May Have About LGBT Adoption in Arizona
With today’s political climate, it’s understandable to worry about the future of same-sex adoption laws in Arizona and nationwide. That’s why it’s highly recommended you complete your same-sex adoption today to protect your parental rights for years to come.
But, the legalities of a same-sex adoption may not be your only worry.
For example, you may wonder if a prospective birth mother would even pick a same-sex couple to adopt her child. There are plenty of open-minded prospective birth mothers who are excited about placing their child with an LGBT couple. Being gay is rarely a reason to not be picked by a prospective birth mother; in fact, a same-sex couple might even stand out as more attractive to a prospective birth mother than another heterosexual couple.
Another thing to consider if you’re completing an adoption of a child who’s biologically related to one of the members of a couple: Just because your name is on your child’s birth certificate does not mean you are the legal parent of that child. The child’s other biological parent’s rights may still be intact, so it’s important to work closely with a legal professional like MyersStrickland to protect your parental rights now — and in the case that LGBT adoption laws change in the future. We can tell you if an adoption or parentage order is the best path for your situation.
No matter what kind of adoption in Arizona you’re looking to complete, you’ll need to consult with an experienced adoption attorney to determine what steps you’ll need to take. MyersStrickland is here to answer all of your questions about same-sex adoption in Arizona if you contact us today.