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Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

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Same-Sex Couples Still Face Problems in Adopting

Today over 270,000 same-sex couples are raising children. The number of children raised by a homosexual parent is likely even higher, as this number does not take into account single homosexual parents. While all states permit same-sex adoption of some sort (in 2010, Florida was the last state to overturn a ban on all same-sex adoption), most states do not permit same-sex couples to adopt. A single homosexual parent can adopt, but not the couple itself.

This is the case in Texas. A single homosexual parent is able to adopt a child, but the law is less clear regarding a same-sex couple jointly adopting a child. It is neither explicitly outlawed nor permitted. A Texas appellate court permitted a same-sex couple to adopt a child, but the court reached its decision on technical grounds (the couple later split, and the one partner was too late in trying to dismiss the adoption as invalid). The appellate court did note, though, that the joint adoption was not inherently against the law.

A similar legal development occurred regarding second-parent adoption, adoption where a partner formally adopts the child of his or her partner. The case involved two women who split up after eight years together. One of the women had had a child four years into the relationship. When the two split, the non-biological mother formally adopted the child. The court ruled in favor of the non-biological mother, as the biological mother had been too late in challenging the adoption. Consequently, it is not certain in Texas whether same-sex couples are able to adopt children jointly, or whether one partner may perform a second-parent adoption. If a same-sex couple splits up, it can be difficult to determine child custody given the uncertain status of the law.

Have you been involved in a same-sex adoption? What obstacles did you face?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce lawyers

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