Yesterday morning, following President-Elect Trump’s win, I met with a young married couple about a step-parent adoption. They were two women, and the meeting opened with tears.
It was heartbreaking.
Adoption consultations are usually some of our most joyous — a happy couple, either planning for or expecting a child. Yesterday, though, was the morning after a historical election that for many, including in particular for same-sex couples, creates anxiety and fear surrounding the Supreme Court and the status of their rights as a married couple and as a family.
What did I tell them?
A Brief Background
Sometimes, one spouse is not biologically related to a child of the other spouse. Connecticut has a process called step-parent adoption, which allows the non-bio parent (whether they a member of a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage) to adopt the child. The key is that an adoption results in a court order that says both spouses are full and equal parents to their child, with the same, full legal rights and responsibilities. Under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV of the United States Constitution, every state must recognize the court orders of every other state.
What’s That Mean?
Even if we see an overturn of Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015’s landmark United States Supreme Court decision that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples, it will not impact a spouse’s rights or responsibilities to a child pursuant to an adoption.
What Do We Do?
If you have a child you are not biologically related to, you should adopt. This has actually not changed. I have written before here and again here about why, even with Obergefell intact, you should adopt your kids. Your adoption legally memorializes what you and your spouse always intended — that you both have the same parental rights to your child.
Adoption is the smart thing to do. And, if like many people, you are you are feeling scared in the face of Mr. Trump’s win, it might actually also make you feel a little better.
Freed Marcroft’s legal team guides select clients through the legal aspects of adoption and family law issues while remaining mindful of their overall wellness.