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Adoption and Foster Care by LGBT Singles and Couples

Adoption and Foster Care by LGBT Singles and Couples

Michelle and Katrina have three children. They are all the biological children of Katrina, and Michelle is the only other parent they have ever known. But since the couple lives in Ohio, Michelle has no legal relationship to her partner’s children.

While Ohio does allow single parent adoption by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals and does not specifically prohibit adoption or foster care placement in the home of gay couples, the state does not allow second parent adoption in these instances. Second parent adoption would include cases where one parent already has a legal responsibility to the children (e.g., a biological parent) and the second gay partner wants to adopt those children.

Advocates for increasing the rights of non-biological same-sex partners claim that denying adoption to gay partners causes harm to the children of gay couples. For example, in the case of Michelle and Katrina, Katrina’s children would not be able to collect Social Security death or disability benefits if something were to happen to Michelle, whom the kids call, “Mommy.” Michelle is the sole breadwinner of the family.

In addition, the non-biological is also denied other legal rights, including:

  • That partner cannot make routine or emergency health care decisions for the children
  • That partner cannot sign a school permission slip
  • That partner cannot put the other partner’s name on property title
  • That partner cannot add the children to workplace health plan

Ohio does, however, allow for joint custody of same sex couples. This is a process where the parties outline each partners’ responsibilities to the children now and in the event the parties split up. Once the agreement is accepted by the court, it is binding just like any agreement with heterosexual couples.

For more information on custody options for same sex couples, speak to a family law attorney at Fox & Associates C.O., L.P.A. Call our Dayton offices at (937) 204-1555 or contact us online.

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FOX & ASSOCIATES CO., L.P.A.

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