A Story of Second Parent Adoption

An article from The Guardian tells the tale of two lesbian partners who went through a second parent adoption:

Related:  Five Legal Steps Florida LGBT Parents Should Take

When Patricia Moreno was pregnant with her first child, she went through the usual existential doubts about how life as a new mother would be. Moreno, a life coach and fitness trainer from New York, had been trying to get pregnant for well over a year. She had been through multiple rounds of IVF and suffered a miscarriage. When she did get pregnant, in December 2009, she and her partner, Kellen Mori, were over the moon, and then they started thinking.

The couple’s marriage was not valid outside the US or in many of the more conservative states; the baby, conceived by IVF using Mori’s eggs and donor sperm, would not be recognised federally as belonging to both of them. (Moreno, giving birth, would be recognised as the biological mother. Mori, who had provided the eggs, would have no automatic universal rights.) “I’m not the mum, but I am the mum,” thought Moreno and wondered idly who the baby would identify with more. As well as a good obstetrician, she and her wife of three years would be needing a lawyer.

The two women faced a version of a problem that affects growing numbers of people. As the technology to create life outpaces the law’s ability to provide for it, couples are having children whose legal status is, depending on where they are in the world, terrifyingly open to interpretation. By necessity, most of them are same-sex couples, although heterosexual couples in surrogacy arrangements can face similar problems: the failure of one jurisdiction to recognise the legitimacy of a birth certificate issued by another. As is permitted in New York, Moreno and Mori were both named on their daughter’s birth certificate, but when they travelled, there was no guarantee that Mori, the “non-birth mother”, would have any rights. She is the child’s genetic parent but, on the advice of lawyers, was obliged to adopt her own daughter after Moreno gave birth.

Though Florida law has an expedited procedure for stepparent adoption (where a heterosexual spouse will adopt his or her stepchild), no such expedited procedures are provided for in the Florida Statutes for homosexual partners. This is, in part, because Florida does not recognize gay marriage.

[Related: In A Florida Child Custody Case, Does It Matter That I Am Gay?]

[Related:  In Which County Should I File My Florida Adoption Case?]

However, a gay person may have the option of adopting his or her partner’s child through a “second parent adoption.” This is where partners jointly petition the court to allow the non-legal parent to become a legal parent.

The issue of second parent adoptions is unsettled law in Florida, and joint petitions for second parent adoption are not universally recognized or accepted throughout the state. If you have questions regarding adoptions and you wish to speak with a Tampa Bay adoption attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at (813) 443-0615 or fill out our consultation form.

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About Adam B. Cordover, Attorney-at-Law

Family Diplomacy is dedicated to helping clients restructure their families privately and respectfully. We practice exclusively in out-of-court dispute resolution, with a focus on collaborative divorce and family law, mediation, direct negotiations, and unbundled legal services. We maintain this out-of-court practice because we strongly believe that family disputes should be resolved in a private conference room, not in a hostile and public courtroom environment. This unique perspective on family law stems back to Adam B. Cordover’s experience studying International Affairs in Washington, D.C., and abroad. Adam had the rare opportunity to work closely with ambassadors and diplomats from war-torn regions around the world. He traveled around the globe, learning from diplomatic leaders as they applied dispute resolution techniques to tackle seemingly impossible conflicts. It dawned on him: If these techniques can work in the complex world of International Relations, why not Domestic Relations and Family Law? This realization lead Adam to create an exclusively out-of-court practice and to bring a more peacemaking approach to family law. In his previous role as a litigation attorney, Adam witnessed parties experience the negative emotional and financial effects that long, drawn out divorce battles can have on families. As a result, Adam has become a strong proponent of the Collaborative Process, where a structure is put in place so that life’s hardest moments do not have to be any more difficult than necessary. A thought leader in the international collaborative law community, Adam successfully spearheaded an effort of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit to draft an administrative order safeguarding the principles of collaborative family law (just the fourth such administrative order in Florida). Adam has been featured in or interviewed about collaborative practice by the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Tampa Bay Business Journal, Florida Bar News, NBC, Fox 13, Bay News 9, ABC Action News, The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine, and Spirit FM 90.5. Adam regularly speaks at professional and civic organizations locally and internationally regarding the collaborative process. Adam B. Cordover is president of Next Generation Divorce, a 501(c)(3) and Florida’s largest interdisciplinary collaborative practice group with member attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, and Manatee Counties. Adam is also on the Executive Board and co-chair of the Research Committee of the Collaborative Family Law Council of Florida. Further, Adam is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. You can learn more about us and our services at www.FamilyDiplomacy.com. Attorney Adam B. Cordover is admitted to the Florida Bar and the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. His office is located at 412 East Madison Street, Suite 824, Tampa, Florida 33602.
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