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Most states prohibit same-sex adoption

As many states have begun to legalize same-sex marriage, many Colorado same-sex couples believe that second-parent adoption is the next hurdle to overcome. According to 2012 statistics from the U.S. Administration for Children and Families, 399,546 children were in foster care. However, 30 states still prohibit same-sex adoption.

Two men, who were legally married in Washington, D.C. but live in Michigan, a state that bans same-sex adoption, were reportedly unable to adopt their 3-year-old son. They allege that the birth mother chose them in an open adoption out of a number of couples, including heterosexual couples. Only one parent was able to adopt the child; however, the couple, who have been together for more than 11 years, have ensured that the nonlegal parent also has guardianship rights. However, if the couple separates, the nonlegal parent would have no right to the child.

In another case, a woman who legally married her wife in Washington, D.C., as well, pays approximately $950 a month in insurance for herself and the couple's child. This resulted from the fact that both parents live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage and adoption. When the legal parent retired, her wife could not include the child on her insurance.

While many married couples do not want to discuss the possibility of a divorce down the road, having an understanding of each person's rights are important, especially when they involve children. In cases where the law is not very clear, particularly in the case of same-sex couples who chose to go through the adoption process. A family law attorney may be able to help couples ensure that both people understand their legal rights when it comes to adopted children.

Source: ABC News, "Same-Sex Adoptions Next Frontier for LGBT Advocates", Susan Donaldson James, November 06, 2013

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