Our clients often ask us the question, "Do I need to adopt my domestic partner's child?" The answer can be complex and and the law is not fully settled in California. In order to obtain full legal parental rights, we strongly advise our clients to adopt their domestic partner's child or children, especially if the child was born to their domestic partner before their partnership was registered.
The current state of the law in California provides for a presumption that a child born into a domestic partnership is the legal child of both domestic partners, regardless of their biological connection to the child. Both partners can be included on the child's birth certificate in the hospital, and in theory, both partners have the same legal rights and obligations to the child.
However, because the law in California is unsettled and federal laws as well as many other state laws do not recognize domestic partnership rights, Kesten Law strongly recommends that domestic partners obtain a court judgment declaring both partners to be the child's legal parents. This can be accomplished through a domestic partner adoption. This judgment is extremely important and critical to ensure that the child's legal relationship with both parents will be respected by other states and the federal government. It is also important to help eliminate the possibility of conflict and litigation over this issue if the domestic partners separate in the future or if one partner should pass away. Finally, this is a crucial step in proactively addressing any future issues that may arise with contesting individuals.
If you have any questions regarding domestic partnership law or adoption in California, please click here to contact our office.