Helping clients navigate their family building journey.
Second Parent Adoption and Adoption by LGBT Parents
GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Adoption
NEW LAW: The District of Columbia recently passed a new law allowing adoptions to take place in the District if a child is born in the District. Non-resident couples may now obtain an adoption in the District or a Judgment of Parentage, based solely on the birth of the child in the District of Columbia. The new law takes effect on March 19, 2013. That means that lesbian couples who gave birth to a child in the District of Columbia after July 1, 2009 will be able to obtain a second-parent adoption in D.C., and the Commonwealth of Virginia, North Carolina and other States a well as the federal government should recognize the adoption for all purposes. Unfortunately, for now this new law does not apply to children born through surrogacy since it is illegal in the District of Columbia.
The first second parent adoption in Maryland was granted in late 1996 and the first second parent adoption in the District of Columbia was granted in 1995. Today second parent adoption in either jurisdiction is routinely granted as long as the parents have met the adoption criteria required by the local court. Jennifer has handled hundreds of second parent adoptions. A second parent adoption occurs when one of the partners is the biological or adoptive parent of the child and their spouse or partner wishes to adopt the child. Often this occurs when one lesbian partner bears the child with the use of donor sperm or where the male couple use a gestational carrier to carry their child and one is the biological father. Jennifer has worked with couples using known sperm donors, gestational carriers, egg donors and in situations where one lesbian partner is the biological mother and the other is the birth mother.
In addition to second parent adoption, Maryland and the District of Columbia will name a married lesbian couple as the parents of a child born to them when the birth mother identifies her partner at the hospital as her spouse and the child's other mother. In the District, marriage is not required to take advantage of this law but it is required in Maryland. It is expected that in April of 2013 non-residents will be able to obtain Parentage Orders and Adoptions in the District of Columbia if the baby is born in D.C. and you are unable to complete an adoption in your home state - this is particularly advantages for Virginia residents.
If you are a gay or lesbian parent, contact Jennifer about the process for second parent adoption in Maryland and the District of Columbia as this is still recommended to all parents in same sex relationships to secure their parental rights beyond the boundaries of Maryland and the District of Columbia. A birth certificate is a "presumption of parentage" but the adoption is a judicial determination.
To see the letter issued to the Maryland Birth Registrar click here. http://data.lambdalegal.org/in-court/downloads/exec_md_20110210_ss-spouse-instructions-to-facilities.pdf To see the Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination of Parentage Amendment Act of 2009, click here: http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/images/00001/20090511122621.pdf
In addition to second parent adoptions, Jennifer is one of the leading adoption attorneys in Maryland and the District of Columbia for clients seeking private adoptions. Jennifer delivers high quality legal services for a reasonable cost - her fees for uncontested second parent adoptions are usually capped and are competitively lower than her colleagues in bigger law firms. Jennifer, being among the first attorneys to handle second parent adoptions, has a streamlined her process and provides direct client contact and regular communication to ensure proper and complete adoption filings. When the adoption is uncontested (all legal/genetic parents consenting or anonymous donors) the process is paperwork and rule driven. Jennifer has over twelve years of handling these cases. Today she teaches other lawyers how to handle second parent adoptions and welcomes the chance to advise any gay or lesbian family on how to secure legal protections for their family.
Jennifer was recently seen on ABC News discussing the marriage recognition in Maryland and marriage in the District of Columbia specifically regarding the impact on GLBT clients considering becoming parents. Jennifer is one of the top attorneys on parentage matters through parental presumption, adoption,and parentage orders.
Jennifer has extensive experience in finalizing adoptions for the LGBT community in Maryland and the District of Columbia. If a birth family is placing their child with a LGBT family, she will work with the LGBT family to create an adoption plan with the birth family so that the adoptive parents may bring the child home directly from the hospital. She handles every aspect of the adoption from the adoption plan, ICPC processing and finalization.
Client feedback demonstrates that Jennifer is one of the top adoption attorneys for the LGBT community. To read the client comments, look Jennifer up on www.avvo.com. Jennifer offers no cost in person initial consultations for LGBT families interested in adoption. Uncontested second parent adoptions are handled on a capped fee basis and Jennifer is the most competitively priced attorney handling second parent adoptions in the area.
In the District of Columbia and throughout the state of Maryland, gay and lesbian individuals— both single individuals and couples— are eligible to adopt through an agency, foster care or through a private placement adoption.
For clients finalizing in Baltimore City, click this link to get directions. http://www.baltocts.sailorsite.net/about/direction.html