Why LGBT Couples Should Consult A Lawyer When Adopting A Child

For some LGBT couples and individuals that wish to start a family, adoption is the best option. Whether it’s because you’d like to provide a home for one of the many children who need shelter, or you believe that it’s a better fit for you than surrogacy, there are many compelling reasons to adopt.

Though some choose to pursue adoption on their own, having legal counsel ensures that your experience will be efficient, successful, and enjoyable.

Below are a few reasons why our clients choose to utilize an attorney to assist them on their adoption journey.

To help plan the timing of your adoption

Our attorneys are familiar with the types of situations that may help or hurt your cause. We’ll work with you to time your adoption to ensure optimal results.

For example, you may want to consider your current and future career trajectory. How long have you had your job? Is the income predictable and steady? Are you planning any major career changes? You’ll want to adopt during a time when your income is secure, and you’re not expecting any big shifts in employment that will cause undue stress, an unpredictable workload, or financial insecurity.

Another example of a topic we’ll cover is whether you’re expecting any significant life events. Are you planning to move to buy a home? Or perhaps you or your partner are considering going back to school. Big life changes like these are exciting, but you may want to time your adoption after you’ve had time to adjust.

To ensure your legal relationship status corresponds with the type of adoption you’re seeking

There are various types of adoption depending on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Whether an individual or a couple is adopting
  • If a couple is adopting, the legal relationship between them, be it marriage, domestic partnership, or other relationship.
  • The child’s relationship, if any, to either of the future parents.

Each type of adoption has different processes and requirements, which our attorneys can walk you through. To learn more about various types of adoption, see our earlier blog post titled LGBT Adoption in California.

To assist in gathering the correct “evidence”

The success of your adoption application is in part based on an assessment, also known as a “homestudy” that considers whether you are prepared to care for a child. Our attorneys are familiar with what you can expect, and will guide you as you prepare for this evaluation.

We’ll discuss with you some of the major items that will be considered, and help you decide whether you need to make any changes before you attempt the adoption. For example, you’ll likely be asked about your physical and mental health. If you’re expecting major surgery or in need of any medical treatment, it could be wise to ensure those items are taken care of in advance.

You may also be asked about your current financial status, criminal history, and social history, such as your involvement in clubs, organizations, volunteering, and so forth. Taking the time to prepare materials showing your positive preparation for becoming a parent is well worth the effort.

To ensure you do not stumble into organizations that may use a “religious discrimination” claim

If you pursue adoption outside of the state of California, you are more likely to encounter adoption agencies that may claim they have the “right” to refuse to serve you because they are a religious organization. This is what’s known as a “religious discrimination” claim. This is banned in California, Oregon, and several other states, but most states are silent on the issue.

Though California has relatively strong anti-discrimination laws, you may still face some hidden barriers, as not all adoption agencies are equally accommodating to the LGBT community. We’re familiar with the landscape of adoption agencies, and can refer you to ones that are both efficient and welcoming to LGBT couples and individuals.

Bringing a child into your family is an astounding, life-changing experience. Our attorneys can help make your adoption dream a reality.

Contact us to learn more.