Today, Same-Sex Couples in NJ are Becoming New Parents in Record Numbers
Same Sex Parenting
If you and your partner are bringing up a child together, you’ll want to do everything you can to protect your relationship with the child in the event you and your partner split up. The best way to approach this issue will vary greatly, depending on your relationship with your partner and child, and local laws and customs.
Adoption of Children by Gay and Lesbian Couples in NJ
In some states, including NJ, same sex partners can jointly adopt a child. You have the legal status any biological parent would have.
If your partner is the biological parent of the child, you may also be able to adopt the child through what’s called a “second parent” adoption. Your ability to do this will depend on NJ law and the child’s biological parent’s willingness to relinquish his/her parental rights to the child.
Parenting Agreements by Gay and Lesbian Couples in NJ
If adoption isn’t for you, consider a written “parenting agreement” with your partner, with such details as:
- You each consider yourselves the parents of the child, with all the rights and duties that come with parenthood
- Should your relationship end, each of you intend the parenting relationship with the child to continue, with regular visitation time with the child and joint parenting responsibilities
Taking Custody Dispute to Court in NJ
Relationships often do not work out. But with children involved, it takes on a whole new relationship. Because of the uncertainties and the tremendous stress of litigation, it’s a good idea to try to work out an agreement with your ex-partner short of taking the issue to court. Hiring a mediator to negotiate a settlement is often a good idea and can also resolve property issues at the same time.
The courts in NJ have tended to place emphasis on:
- Any written parenting agreements between partners
- How long the partner has lived with and parented the child
- The partner’s involvement in the child’s daily routine, such as schooling, feeding, bathing and so forth
- The strength of the relationships between the child and the partner’s extended family
- The intentions of the biological parent to allow the former partner to parent the child while the partners were together
- If the child is old enough, the child’s wishes
As with many legal issues, a little pre-planning can go a long way.
Do you have questions about gay and lesbian couple adoption in New Jersey? If so, contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq.
toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or firstname.lastname@example.org
to schedule a consultation about your particular needs. He welcomes your calls and inquiries and you’ll find him easy to talk to and very approachable.
Written by Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, New Jersey, Monmouth County Adoption Attorney