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: legal parental rights for the same-sex spouse of a biological or adoptive parent. These parental rights can be secured through a step-parent adoption in the Probate Court of the county in which you reside.

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.

No more. After Obergefell, married same-sex couples in Ohio can pursue a step-parent 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 Shinn has helped many clients complete step-parent 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

In some Ohio counties, juvenile judges are granting Determination of Parentage actions. In those cases, the judge makes a legal finding that both same-sex spouses are the legal parents of their child. Maria Shinn has many years of Juvenile Court 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, Maria Shinn will listen and analyze your situation and discuss your legal options with you.