Should LGBTQ Couples Marry Before Adopting?

The short answer:

Yes, get married first.

The long answer:

This is a question we receive frequently at Schwartz Law Firm. Gay and lesbian couples are often concerned, and justifiably so, due to the history of family law being slow to keep up with a changing society. With the dream of starting a family in reach, the last thing a couple wants is to introduce legal difficulties into the equation.

The good news is that due to the United States Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, Michigan's adoption laws are relatively straightforward and do not treat LGBTQ couples any differently than opposite-sex couples who are seeking to adopt.

Getting married prior to adoption resolves many of the potential legal issues. Being married allows both parents to gain parental rights to a child they adopt. While single LGBTQ individuals can petition to adopt a child and a same-sex spouse can petition to adopt a spouse's child (stepparent adoption), the current reality for unmarried LGBTQ couples is that there is no way for a non-biological parent to establish parental rights via adoption.

However, this is not a reason to rush into marriage or hold off on adoption. For example, if you wish to adopt now as a single person, a future partner will have the option of petitioning to adopt your child when the time is right.

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