Same Sex Adoption in Pennsylvania

While a person's sexual orientation certainly does not change his or her ability to raise a family, laws and policies concerning same-sex adoption have yet to be implemented uniformly applied across all states. In Pennsylvania, same-sex couples can complete an adoption where the partner who is not the biological parent can become a legal parent through a Second Parent Adoption.

Second Parent Adoptions are an important tool for LGBT families because they provide substantial benefits and protections not otherwise provided by law:

For children of LGBT parents:

  • Second parent adoptions enable the child to be eligible as a dependent for the non-biological parent's health and life insurance benefits.
  • Children adopted by second-parent adoption are vested with the same inheritance rights and rights to federal benefits with respect to their non-biological parent as if they were biological children. Accordingly, if the adoptive parent dies without a will or becomes disabled while the child is a minor, the child the same inheritance scheme would apply as for all biological children and the child would likewise be eligible for Social Security benefits as a result of their parent's death or disability.

For the non-biological parent:

  • Absent a second parent adoption, a non-biological parent could lose all rights to the child if the biological parent dies or the partnership ends while the child is still a minor.
  • Second parent adoptions provide the formal paperwork that is sometimes required to make medical decisions on behalf of a child. In some instances, LGBT parents who have not completed the step parent adoption process have been foreclosed from even visiting with the child in the hospital on the basis that they are not considered "family members."

Because the law regarding same-sex marriages has changed and same-sex couples are now permitted to marry, there reamins the question of whether a step-parent adoption can be completed instead of a second parent adoption.  A stepparent adoption is a much simplier process and therefore less expensive and time consuming.

Contact Our Pennsylvania LGBT Adoption Attorneys Today

Contact our Pittsburgh adoption lawyers to speak with one of our experienced Allegheny County adoption lawyers and learn how we can help you build your family through adoption. You may also telephone our PA adoption law firm in Pittsburgh at 412-281-9906, Southpointe (Canonsburg, Washington County) at 724-436-5500, Cranberry Township (Butler County, PA) at 724-776-9906, Clearfield County at 814-290-0587 or toll-free at 1-844-VARI-LAW.

Appointments may also be available in other meeting locations throughout Western Pennsylvania upon advance arrangements with our office. Ask the secretary scheduling your appointment for details including appointment locations.

Our Western PA family law office routinely accepts adoption cases in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Berks County, Butler County, Clearfield County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. Our Pittsburgh adoption attorneys accept adoption cases in other PA counties such as Armstrong County, Erie County, Fayette County, Greene County, Somerset County and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.

Want to Learn More?

If you would like more information on family law topics, click on our Family Laws section or read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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