The District of Columbia recently passed an amendment to its adoption statute allowing adoptions to take place in the District if the child is born in D.C. The amendment is retroactive to include all children born in the District of Columbia since July 1, 2009. This means that same-sex couples that do not reside in the District, but arrange for their child to be born in the District or had children that were born in the District since July 1, 2009, may now apply for a second-parent adoption in D.C. The new provision took effect on March 19, 2013.
A second-parent adoption is a process that allows gay and lesbian parents to establish a legal relationship with their child. When a second-parent adoption is granted, the adoptive parent gains status as a legal parent, with the same rights in custody, visitation, medical decision-making and inheritance matters as a birth parent. Often, gay and lesbian couples who are parents obtain a second-parent adoption decree to establish the legal relationship between both partners and the child, even where the partners are married or have registered their domestic partnership.
The District has recognized same-sex second-parent adoptions since 1995 and Maryland first recognized a second-parent adoption in late 1996. D.C. Superior Court and certain Maryland Circuit Courts now regularly grants such petitions provided they meet the adoption criteria required by the local court.
Zamani & Scott LLP has successfully assisted same-sex couples in D.C. and Maryland in obtaining second-parent adoptions.