Adoption and Parentage Actions for Married Same-Sex Couples


In Ohio, an important benefit followed the United States Supreme Court’s historical decision in Obergefell v. Hodges: two-parent adoption for same-sex couples. Before the Obergefell decision, only one parent in a gay or lesbian family had any legal rights to the couple’s child. The parent who did not give birth to or adopt the child was considered a legal stranger to the child. That parent could not adopt the child unless the “legal” parent gave up all legal rights to the child.

Now, if the couple is legally married, both parents can adopt a child together.

For couples who were not married when they had their children, parental rights can be secured through a stepparent adoption in Probate Court. Once the adoption is granted, both parents will be listed on the child’s birth certificate, and both parents will have full legal rights to the child.

Maria also counsels clients who have used known donors to conceive.

Maria Shinn has helped many clients complete stepparent, independent, adult, and agency adoptions in several Ohio counties. She and her staff are there every step of the way, from preparing the adoption petition to attending the final hearing at Probate Court.

Parentage Actions

A birth certificate is not enough! Even same-sex parents who are both listed on their child's birth certificate should not feel confident that the parental rights of the non-birth parent are protected in Ohio. A birth certificate is merely an administrative document issued by the Ohio Department of Health in Columbus. It is not the same as a Court Order. Many juvenile and domestic relation judges in Ohio are granting Determination of Parentage actions. In those cases, the judge makes a legal finding in a Court Order that the non-biological or non-adoptive parent is also a legal parent of the child. Maria Shinn has many years of experience and can help guide you through this court process.

*If a known donor was used to conceive your child, adoption and/or a parentage action may not be an option. However,