The law firm of Jill M. Metz & Associates helps gay and lesbian couples solidify their co-parent rights through the second parent adoption process. This is not merely a symbolic gesture, but an important legal hedge in the event that something happens to the biological parent — or in the event that the couple splits up.
Our legal team has successfully pursued and enforced second parent adoptions statewide. Founding attorney Jill Metz has been a pioneer in this area of law, and associate attorney Susan Frances is the current chair of the Chicago Bar Association's Adoption Law Committee.
Chicago Co-Parent Adoption Lawyers: Protecting Parental Rights In Cook County And Statewide Illinois
Couples who are married in another state or in a civil union in Illinois before the birth of their child may be eligible to have both names listed on the birth certificate at the hospital. However, a birth certificate is an administrative document that carries only so much weight in a court of law. Many states do not have to recognize the non-biological parent if the parent-child relationship is based solely on the birth certificate.
However, if you have a court-ordered judgment of adoption or adoption decree formally declaring you are a co-parent, other jurisdictions must recognize it. In Cook County, a second parent adoption is a streamlined process, requiring fewer steps than even a stepparent adoption.
Why Do We Need A Second-Parent Adoption?
Our Chicago family law practice is attuned to the unique legal challenges LGBT clients face. This is especially true in custody matters, where gay and lesbian partners may not have equal standing (or any standing) as parents under Illinois law. In the worst-case scenario, blood relatives can supersede the rights of the "parent" who is not biologically related to the child.
If the biological parent dies or becomes incapacitated and there is no formal judgment of adoption, the co-parent has no legally recognized relationship with the child. Instead, a state agency or guardian court can step in and place the child in foster care or with legally recognized relatives. The non-biological parent can be denied visitation, excluded from school activities and parenting decisions, and perhaps lose all contact with the child.
A second parent adoption also prevents a similar scenario when parents break up and the biological parent seeks sole custody. A formal adoption puts both parents on equal footing, with all parental rights and responsibilities.
Explore Second-Parent Adoption With Experienced Lawyers
For peace of mind and protection of your rights, call our Chicago second parent adoption attorneys at 773-878-4480 or contact us online to learn more about second-parent and co-parent adoption in Chicago, Illinois.
Serving The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community And Friends in Chicago, Cook County And Illinois