Google Search
Justia Law Firm Web Site Designs

Adoptions

I have been obtaining co-parent (a/k/a step-parent) adoptions for couples in the St. Louis area, including lesbian and gay couples, since 1998, when I succeeded in obtaining the first same-sex co-parent adoption decree in Missouri.

When a parent is raising a child or children with a step-parent, and the parent and step-parent want both of them to have co-equal parenting rights and responsibilities, it is extremely important to obtain an court order of Adoption, so that both partners/spouses who are raising the child(ren) are recognized as legal parents of the child(ren).  This provides legal protection for the parent, step-parent, and child(ren). 

Having your name on the birth certificate of a child born to your partner or spouse is not sufficient. Without a court order of adoption, the parent/spouse who is not the birth parent (or who is not the person who originally adopted the child) will not have legal protection as a parent.  Moreover, the child(ren) will not have the protection of you being recognized as a legal parent, unless you adopt the child(ren).  For example, a child of your partner/spouse whom you have not adopted is not considered your heir if you die, and also would not be entitled to file a wrongful death claim if your death was caused by the actions of another person, and would not have a claim for Social Security children's benefits based on your Social Security record.

In Missouri, both the parent and step-parent must petition jointly for the adoption.

I also handle Petitions for Recognition of Foreign Adoptions. 

I do not handle agency adoptions, private adoptions, or adoption proceedings in other countries.