For several decades, the laws related to same-sex unions have been difficult to fathom — what was legal in one area might be illegal just a few miles down the road simply because you happened to cross a state line.
This has left many adult children of same-sex unions with tenuous, uncertain ties to at least one of their mothers or fathers. Some were biologically related to one parent but had no legal relationship to the other, while others were legally adopted by one parent but not the other. Same-sex parents were often confounded with laws that made it nearly impossible to give both parents equal legal ties to their children.
Fortunately, that’s changed. Once a judge ruled that Mississippi’s ban on same-sex adoptions was unconstitutional, gay and lesbian parents everywhere gained the right to legally adopt the children that they already consider their own.
While it might not seem like something that’s necessary now that your child is a legal adult, there are some good long-term reasons that make the adoption of your adult child a wise decision:
— It confers legal standing on your adult child as your next-of-kin if something happens to your spouse. That could be important in a medical crisis.
— It also prevents your adult child from being excluded from visiting you, should you be incapacitated, based on the sole fact that he or she isn’t actually related to you.
— It gives your child, not other relatives from whom you may be estranged, legal standing to become your guardian (if need be) or choose how your remains are handled.
— It solves any potential inheritance problems, especially if you have a significant amount of assets. If you die, other relatives (including any biological children you may have) may decide that their blood relationship to you should supersede the emotional relationship you had with your non-biological child. By adopting your adult child, you give him or her the same legal status as a natural child.
While it’s nice to think that your entire family will cooperate in a time of crisis or grief, those are exactly the times that hidden tensions tend to surface and families can fracture. By taking certain steps now, you can continue to protect your adult child’s interests long into the future.
For more information on how our firm approaches the adoption process, please visit our page.