Recently, a member of the New Jersey Senate proposed a bill that would streamline the legal process for the spouse or civil union partner of a biological parent to adopt his/her spouse/partner’s child. The bill, if passed, would set up a speedier process through which same-sex spouses and same-sex civil union partners could adopt the other’s biological child conceived through assisted reproduction, insidernj.com reported.
At this point, you may be wondering, “well, with marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling in 2015, the need for going through the trouble and expense of adopting my spouse’s child isn’t there anymore, right?” Well… no. As the senator’s bill recognizes, there are still plenty of very important reasons why it could benefit you and your family to go through the adoption process. Contact an experienced Hoboken family law attorney to discuss your specific situation and learn more about the best path for you.
Before the Obergefell ruling, there were some very good reasons for you — if your child was biologically related to your partner but not to you — to go through the legal steps to adopt that child. The law in all states gives legal parents some very strong rights when it comes to their children, including the right to shut out those the parent doesn’t want in the child’s life. If you’re not a legal parent or guardian, you don’t have those rights — which means you are at risk of being the one “on the outside looking in.” Biological parents automatically have that legal status. Non-biological parents, like stepparents, do not have that same level of legal recognition.