In Massachusetts, same-sex marriages have been recognized for several years now. A big struggle many same-sex spouses still have, though, is gaining rights to their own children. Biologically speaking, the child may only really belong to one parent, or from an adoption standpoint, the adoption may only have been awarded to one spouse. It doesn’t matter if both spouses raise the child; in the eyes of the law, the child may only have one parent. If you find yourself wanting to have any legal rights to the child you share with your same-sex spouse, you will likely need to go through with a second-parent adoption. 

What is a second-parent adoption? This is when a same-sex spouse can adopt a shared child without it affecting the parental rights of the child’s other parent. If approved, this gives both spouses the same rights offered to biological parents, in terms of visitation and custody, if the couple was ever to end their relationship. 

What if divorce happens and a second-parent adoption was never completed? There are a number of ways to approach this type of situation. While, legally, the child may only be considered to belong to one parent, the court will look at the other parent’s role in the child’s life. It may still be possible to achieve some type of custody agreement.

Same-sex spouses who wish to secure parental rights for both parties may do so through the second-parent adoption process. Generally speaking, if it’s something both parents want, getting approval should not be too difficult — there is a certain way to go about it, though. An experienced attorney can assist same-sex spouses in Massachusetts in getting through the adoption process as quickly as possible. To learn more about how an attorney can help you, please visit our firm’s website.