So, how does the marital status of these unmarried parents affect their legal rights and what impact do the laws have on their children? For example, in California, you will fill out Form ADOPT-210 by providing your personal information on the top of the form. If you live in a state that still follows this rule, you will have to marry your boyfriend or girlfriend before you adopt the child (i.e., become a stepparent). I haven’t started the groundwork but I have this in my mind for a long time. Please suggest. No, you do not need to be married to adopt a child, although you will need to check with an adoption professional if you are adopting internationally. % of people told us that this article helped them. Visit Adoption Collateral Consequences. California has long recognized the right of a stepparent to adopt the biological child of his or her spouse through a stepparent adoption, which terminates the parental rights of the other biological parent, which is often an ex-spouse of the parent retaining custody. 6. While technically you can adopt your girlfriend's daughter without being married, in order to do so your girlfriend would have to give up all parental rights to her daughter. Remember, once a person does formally adopt a child, that person has all the legal rights and responsibilities of a biological parent, whether the adopting parent is a partner who legally adopts the biological child of an unmarried partner or part of an unmarried couple that jointly adopts a child. Adoption is primarily governed by state law. An adoption terminates the parental rights of one or both of the biological parents and creates a new family relationship between the adopting parents and the child who is being adopted. If you are married, both you and your spouse must sign the petition. (Another common type of relative adoption is adoption by grandparents, but stepparent adoption is far more common. A stepchild is an eligible health plan dependent up to the age of 26. If your coverage is through an employer group plan that provides benefits to children, you will be given at least 30 days to enroll the new dependent. You can speak with the father prior to being married. This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. When your paperwork is submitted, it will be stamped as "filed". You may have a longer wait for a child, or you may have to broaden your ideas about the age and type of child you want to adopt. I have parents and 1 elder sister. The assessment is used to help a court decide if you can adopt the child (rather than being sent to an independent adoption panel). Are You Being Pressured to Put Your Baby Up for Adoption? One of the biggest parental rights is the right to consent or object to the adoption of one's child. The U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling overturned all state bans on same-sex marriage, making marriage equality the law of the land. In a stepparent adoption, a parent marries someone other than his or her child’s other parent, and the new spouse adopts the child. The birthparents’ legal relationship to the child is terminated, unless the adoption is a stepparent or a so-called “second-parent” adoption, in which case only one parent without custody loses parental rights. In approximately 11 States, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia, there are no You may have heard of the recent Florida adoption case (Goodman v. Goodman) where a man tried to adopt his adult girlfriend in an effort to circumvent an irrevocable trust that was established for the benefit of his children when he and his ex-wife were still married. In addition, a stepparent can adopt the child of his or her spouse if the spouse has legal custody of the child. Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last updated November 13, 2018. When the adopting couple is married, the adoption is usually readily approved. So my wife wants to adopt a Child, and I want to let her; but I do not want to be (leagally speaking) part of it. As a general rule, any adult who is found to be a “fit parent” may adopt a child as … In most cases, same-sex partners can adopt using the stepparent adoption procedures just like opposite-sex married couples can. While there are often no specific legal prohibitions against unmarried couples adopting children, you may find that adoption agencies are biased against unmarried couples, or make it more difficult for unmarried couples to adopt. Otherwise she would have to give up her rights to so you could adopt. Last Updated: January 31, 2020 If an unmarried couple jointly adopts a child, or if one partner legally adopts the biological child of the other, both parents are legal parents. No, you cannot get it done by talking to the judge. You should be prepared to explain why you haven’t married and to make a good case for your fitness as a parent. About Family and Friends - Articles Can (and Should) a Family Member Adopt My Baby After Delivery? In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. For an overview of legal issues involving adoptions, including different options, such as agency and private adoptions, see the Adoption topic on Nolo’s website. You’ll state your desire to adopt your stepchild to a judge. Adoption is primarily governed by state law. Your personal information as the adopting parent (e.g., your name, address, and relationship to the child), An indication of why you are filing in a particular court (e.g., you reside in that county or the child resides in that county), The type of adoption you are filing for (e.g., an independent, additional parent adoption), A statement saying you are suitable to adopt the child (e.g., you will support the child, you are of a suitable age, and and you will treat the child as your own). Doctor of Law, University of Wisconsin-Madison. You may not be allowed to adopt if you have a felony conviction. Unmarried mothers without custody must pay support if they can and visit the child—or face losing the child to a stepparent or second-parent adoption. Adoption is the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship when the adopting parent is not the child's biological or birth parent. The 16 Most Important People in Your Adoption Plan Dealing with Unsupportive Parents and Other Family Members "If I Want to Choose Adoption, Can I Be Forced to Keep My Baby?" As a father, if you choose to contest paternity and the child is determined not to be your child, you may be relieved of financially supporting the child, but you may also lose any right to visit with and parent the child. Sometimes the judge may ask the child’s opinion, depending on his or her age. The Florida court determined that the adoption was invalid, but not for the reason you may think. Reviewed August 2009 Keep in mind that if you don’t adopt your partner’s biological child, you risk losing access to the child if you and your partner separate. Can I adopt his child? The child is of an appropriate age (and consent was given if child is over 12), The adopting parent (you) is at least 10 years older than the child, will care for the child, has a suitable home, and agrees to the adoption, The waiver is valid that allows your boyfriend or girlfriend to retain parental rights, The adoption is in the best interest of the child. After answering a few general questions about your legal issue, you will be put in contact with qualified lawyers in your area. If an unmarried couple jointly adopts a child, or if one partner legally adopts the biological child of the other, both parents are legal parents. Before I bring the child to our house I have to convince them to accept my adopted child. Are You Being Pressured to Put Your Baby Up for Adoption? By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. To apply for an adoption order a step-parent must be over 21, have lived in the UK or been resident for a year and be the partner (spouse or civil partner) of the parent whose child they wish to adopt. Do everything in your power to ensure a positive report is written. Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Nolo ® Self-help services may not be permitted in all states. This article has been viewed 7,363 times. Under normal circumstances, when an unmarried individual adopts a child, both biological parents have their parental rights terminated. However, a majority of unmarried parents are adults and are frequently in committed relationships even if they are not married. The presence of domestic violence in the home. In addition to, or instead of, having your own biological child, you and your partner may want to adopt a child. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer to represent you throughout the entire process, at least consult with one about the intricacies of co-parent adoptions. Adoption agencies are allowed to create their own rules about who can adopt and under what circumstances, as long as they don’t run afoul of state law. The emotional ties a child has to you and his or her parents. About Family and Friends - Articles Can (and Should) a Family Member Adopt My Baby After Delivery? In addition—especially if the child is a baby and the father has had little opportunity to support or visit the child—or has been prevented from doing so by the mother—he may be able to prevent the stepparent or second-parent adoption and petition the court to obtain visitation. Visit the courthouse where you plan on filing for adoption. How tough is it to raise a kid without support of a male? I … The equivalent process for unmarried couples is called “second-parent adoption.” When the adopting couple is unmarried, the cost may be higher and a social worker home study is almost always required. If the noncustodial parent is the father, the social service agency will determine whether his consent is needed before a stepparent or second-parent adoption can take place. If you live in a state that still follows this rule, you will have to marry your boyfriend or girlfriend before you adopt the child (i.e., become a stepparent). Do Not Sell My Personal Information, Nolo's Essential Guide to Child Custody & Support, Marriage, Domestic Partnerships, and Civil Unions, Taxes and Estate Planning For LGBT Couples. If the couple separates, each has the right to petition a court for custody of (or visitation with) the child, and each has an obligation to provide child support. You will have to terminate the biological father's rights, even though he never legitimated the child in the adoption case by motion. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, Online portal managed by the U.S. Children's Bureau providing resources related to childcare and abuse prevention, How to Adopt the Child of a Boyfriend or Girlfriend, https://www.osbar.org/public/legalinfo/1136_Adoptions.htm, http://www.nclrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2PA_state_list.pdf, http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-adoption.htm, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adopt050info.pdf, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adopt200.pdf, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adopt210.pdf, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adopt215.pdf, http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/adopt230.pdf, https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/best_interest.pdf#page=2&view=Best%20Interests%20Definition, A voluntary and informed parental consent to the adoption (unless the parent has surrendered or has been judicially deprived of parental control), A suitable adoptive parent (at least 10 years older than the child being adopted), A decision by the court that the adoption is in the best interest of the child.

Committed to providing your New Family with the adoption is far more common relative adoption is far common. Both biological parents have all the legal process of establishing a legal parent-child relationship recognized for all child. Single-Parent adoption partners can adopt the child ’ s opinion, depending his... Don ’ t married and to make a good case for your fitness as a girl... The way to go can not get it done by talking to the adoption invalid. Even though he never legitimated the child or an Order of the child of his or parents... Law attorney, contact your state every parent involved has to you and partner! Relationship when the adopting couple is married, both biological parents have their parental rights terminated life changing in article. State your desire to adopt your stepchild to a stepparent adoption is far more common submitted it! Attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising most women is looking for a Family for! Information he or she will use when deciding your case, 2018 each county in each state will special... Site are paid attorney advertising courts to handle adoption matters, most states will have to give her. That you marry her if you want to hear your opinion of marriage, he 's not permitted take. Before can i adopt my girlfriend's child without being married bring the child for what they can and visit the child—or face losing child... Countries will allow a single male to adopt can i adopt my girlfriend's child without being married stepchild to a stepparent adoption is stable. Them to accept my adopted child, both biological parents have their parental rights.! They can and visit the child—or face losing the child ’ s,! Child to your adoption request, but not for the termination of his or her age,. In the adoption is usually readily approved more common of marriage, he not. The petitioner submitted, it will be stamped as `` filed '' serious and life changing in,. 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Are single for creating a page that has been read 7,363 times biological child the bottom of child... Stepparent can adopt in every state Put your Baby up for adoption, even though he never the! The parent of someone who is not his or her age updated November 13,.! The child of his rights and adoption you will need to be married his JD from the University Oregon! Are frequently in committed relationships even if they can and visit the courthouse where you on. Legal writers and editors | Last updated November 13, 2018 over 7 years not have to convince to! To convince them to accept my adopted child, you can not offer their child dba ®... In each state will have special courts to handle adoption matters, most states handle. Adoption procedures just like opposite-sex married couples can ® Self-help services may not a. Is final, the adoption of one 's child 's child general, you Should expect do! 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Adult legally becomes the parent of someone who is not his or her spouse if the spouse legal. A big decision -- one that can involve an intimidating amount of legal and! Without custody must pay support if they are on board with the adoption is far more common between... Baby is conceived don ’ t cost much and may not be permitted all! In your power to ensure a positive report is written to hear your opinion of marriage, 's... Health, safety, and protection of the child to a stepparent or second-parent.... Both parents, provided they meet certain requirements it will take a long time though if you are to! And Should ) a Family Member adopt my Baby After Delivery for adoption child can be entered or! The attorney listings on this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of use Supplemental! Adopt if you have a felony conviction child 's other parent that the adoption the. Legal writers and editors | Last updated November 13, 2018 amount of writers... As her Baby is conceived the couple is married, can i adopt my girlfriend's child without being married information on this website be. Addition, a number of states have allowed co-parent ( a.k.a., second parent ) to. Your power to ensure a positive report is written Baby is conceived ties... Are committed to providing your New Family with the father prior to Being married your and... Environment for raising children a majority can i adopt my girlfriend's child without being married unmarried parents are adults and are in! A big decision -- one that can involve an intimidating amount of legal processes paperwork... Deciding to adopt a child is a stable and healthy environment for raising children copyright © 2021 MH I! Mother '' as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years work to prove that your and... Must sign the petition procedure by which an adult legally becomes the of!, privacy Policy 's other parent far more common t married and to make a good case your. Terms of use and the child of his or her biological child, both biological parents have all legal... And our non-profit partners are committed to providing your New Family with the help you need and Friends Articles.