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Are Ohio Adoption Laws Different For LGBTQ Couples vs. Heterosexual Couples?

Same-sex couples in Ohio have the same rights to adopt a child as heterosexual couples. However, the process is always a difficult one, regardless of who is adopting. It is not uncommon for people to not know what to expect from the adoption process, and members of the LGBTQ community may wonder if they will face additional challenges. If you and your partner wish to adopt a child, it is highly advised that you work with a Columbus family lawyer that has the necessary experience helping LGBTQ couples and that can guide you through the process.

The Home Study

All couples, whether they are part of the LGBTQ community or are heterosexual, must complete a home study before they can adopt in Ohio. Most prospective parents become very anxious about the prospect of a home study. Fortunately, there is nothing to be nervous about. A Columbus family lawyer will prepare you for the study, tell you what to expect, and increase your chances of being approved for the adoption.

During the home study, you will have to answer many questions that are personal and specific to your marriage or romantic relationship, your career, personal health, family life, and more. The person conducting the home study will also move around your home and look to ensure it is suitable. They will pay particular attention to the area in which the child will sleep and live. They may even wish to speak to people you know, such as friends and family members, to ask about your personal lifestyle and to determine if a child is a good fit for it.

Due to the personal nature of the questions asked during the home study, it is normal for people to feel awkward answering them. Couples in the LGBTQ community sometimes feel as though they are being targeted during the questioning. It is important to remember this is not the case. While personal, people that conduct home studies ask the same questions of all couples, regardless of who the prospective parents are.

Adopting A Stepchild As An LGBTQ Couple

Adopting a stepchild is one of life’s biggest blessings. It is not uncommon for people to have a child together and break up, only for one or both people to move on to new romantic partners who develop a real relationship with the child. Sometimes, the bond between the new partner and the child becomes so great, the new partner wants to adopt the child. At one time, this was not possible for same-sex couples. However, a landmark decision made by the Supreme Court of Ohio in Obergefell v. Hodges changed that.

Prior to the landmark decision, only one person in a same-sex relationship had any legal right to the child. The other partner that was not the biological parent was legally considered a stranger and therefore, had no right to child custody or any other parental rights. The only exception to this was when the legal parent consented to forfeiting all of their parental rights. Today, it is possible for both partners in a same-sex couple to legally be considered the parents of a stepchild, with both of their names appearing on the birth certificate.

Ohio is one of a few states that still requires a home study to be conducted before a stepparent adoption can occur. Additionally, the other biological parent must have their parental rights terminated, which may require a hearing if the other parent objects to the adoption.

Finding An LGBTQ-Friendly Adoption Agency

If you are worried about your adoption being refused due to your LGBTQ status, it is possible to find an adoption agency that is considered more LGBTQ-friendly. Look at the websites of different adoption agencies looking for one that mentions that they welcome LGBTQ parents, or imagery in which you find yourself represented. If you work with a Columbus family lawyer, they may also be able to direct you to agencies that specialize in, or are known for, working with LGBTQ couples.

Contact Our Family Lawyer In Columbus Today For Help With Same-Sex Adoption

If you are part of the LGBTQ community and are considering adoption, you have the same rights as any other potential parent-to-be in the state. At Lawrence Law Office, our Columbus family lawyer will guide you through the process, advise you of what to expect, and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us today at 614-228-3664 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

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