Understanding New Jersey LGBT Adoption Regulations
New Jersey is a progressive and friendly state regarding LGBT Adoption (also referred to as Same Sex Adoption or Gay and Lesbian Adoption.) Under New Jersey law, Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) cannot deny someone the right to be an adoptive parent based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or domestic partnership status. Therefore, homosexual and heterosexual couples or individuals go through the same adoption process. This process ensures that the adoption is in the best interest of both the child and prospective parents, and that the prospective parents are offering a stable and healthy home for the child. There are three main types of LGBT adoption:
Single (or Individual) Adoption – Adoption of a child who has been put up for adoption by either their birth parents or the state by one gay or lesbian parent. This parent will have sole legal custody of the child, meaning they alone can make important decisions regarding the child’s health and wellbeing.
Joint Adoption – Adoption of a child by a gay or lesbian couple, married or unmarried. Both partners will share joint legal custody of the child, meaning they have an equal say in important decisions about the child.
Second Parent (or Co-Parent) Adoption – Adoption of a child by the partner of someone who has already adopted or is the biological parent of that child, so that both partners will share legal parental rights, regardless of their marital status. For example, if a woman is artificially inseminated, her partner, the co-parent, would go through the Second Parent Adoption process so they would both be the child’s legal parents. New Jersey is one of 16 states that allows Second Parent Adoption statewide. It is important for the co-parent to officially adopt the child so they can be listed on the child’s birth certificate, and their parental status will be recognized and protected no matter where they travel in the US.
For help getting started with the child adoption process, contact us today.