Step-parent adoptions solve parental rights issues for same sex couples
Same sex couples have been able to have children for many years either through means of artificial insemination, gestational surrogacy or adoption of a child by one of the partners. However, in such situations the law traditionally would only recognize the parental rights of one of the partners to the child. This has created some thorny legal issues when such relationships would come to an end, either by divorce or death. In such situations the parental rights of one or both partners have often been brought into question.
In some situations courts have occasionally tried to work around such issues by granting joint custody to both partners, but the application of this solution has been rare. The result has been an inconsistent treatment of partners who either had no biological relationship to the child or were not the adoptive parent by courts throughout the country. This has often resulted in a partner being denied parental rights to a child he or she has parented for years.
The decision of the US Supreme Court in the summer of 2015, declaring any state bans on same sex marriages unconstitutional, has gone a long way to solving such issues. The option of a step-parent adoption, previously available only to opposite sex couples, is now available in Kentucky and throughout the country. Such adoptions are handled the same as regular adoptions, with the biological or adoptive partner consenting to the adoption of a child by his or her partner. The only pre-requisite is that the parties be married, which is now legally permitted in all states.