Although Florida law now allows same-sex marriage, and also allows a gay or LGBT*QIAP+ person to adopt a child, a couple who is not married cannot adopt a child jointly (whether or not they are a same-sex couple). Further, if one partner of a same-sex couple has already had a child, or has already adopted a child, then the other partner may still need to establish his/her parental rights regarding the child, even if the couple has now gotten married.
If you have a situation like this, then the partner who did not adopt the child can still do what’s known as a “second parent” adoption, to effectuate a situation where both members of the couple have a legal parent-child relationship with the child.
A second parent adoption may also be employed to allow a partner who is not the biological parent of his/her partner’s child to adopt the partner’s child. The biological parent/partner may have had the child as the result of prior heterosexual relationship, or via artificial insemination. Either way, a second parent adoption allows the non-biological parent/partner to become a legal parent to the child. If the child in question has a second legal parent already, however, that second legal parent’s consent is required for a second parent adoption to work. Alternatively, if a second legal parent exists, and the second legal parent can be proven to have legally abandoned the child, then it is possible that the second legal parent’s rights could be terminated in order to allow the non-biological parent/partner to adopt the child.
A second parent adoption is sort of like a step-parent adoption for gay or same-sex or LGBT*QIAP+ couples. Although the procedures are different, there is more paperwork, and a home study is required, the result is the same . . . if the second parent adoption is granted, both parents/partners will be the legal parents of their child.
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