When an unmarried parent adopts his or her partner’s biological or adoptive child without eliminating the parental rights of the biological parent, this is considered second parent adoption.  In Florida, second parent adoptions are treated the same as regular adoptions, which means there will be a home study, parental fitness tests, court appearances and plenty of paperwork.  This adoption, in most cases, gives the second parent full parental rights.  Some state legislatures have voluntarily established domestic partnership relations by statute as a way to recognize same-sex unions.  However, domestic partnerships may involve either different sex  or same sex couples.

There are those individuals who are in a domestic partnership who think that because they take care of their partner’s child, they will have legal rights to that child.  However, this is not true, as the only way to be legally secure is through a second parent adoption.  Without this type of adoption, the non-biological parent in the relationship will have no legal rights to the child.  He or she will not be allowed to make important decisions and share in custody of the child should something happen to the relationship or to the biological parent of the child.

In the Orlando area, the most common couples obtaining second parent adoptions are lesbian couples with one partner being the biological parent.  Others who use this type of adoption are gay male couples, couples where one partner has previously adopted a child of his or her own and couples where one partner has a biological child with a previous relationship and the other biological parent has given up his or her parental rights.

To obtain a second parent adoption, you will need consent from the third party biological parent, or will need an already legal parent to terminate his or her parental rights.

There are those states which do not allow gay couples to obtain second parent adoptions.  Gay adoption was illegal in Florida until just a few years ago, and although it isn’t easy to receive approval for a second parent adoption, it is possible in Florida today.