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Same-Sex & Second Parent Adoption

Unfortunately, second parent adoptions are often lengthy, challenging and painfully laborious processes.

That’s why it’s so important to partner with top-tier LGBTQ+ adoption lawyers. Which begins with a simple, confidential and straightforward conversation.

Merel Family Law: Helping LGBTQ+ couples navigate second parent adoptions every step of the way

What could be more daunting than to think about what might happen if your child isn’t legally under your care? It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. That’s why it’s essential that LGBTQ+ couples with children establish second parent adoption status right away.

Contact the best in Chicago LGBTQ+ Adoption Law

Complete the form below to set up a consultation with our second parent adoption and LGBTQ+ family law experts. Our team of experienced attorneys is here for you. Need quick answers? Call us at (312) 408-7000.

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Why Choose A Second Parent Adoption Attorney At Merel Family Law?​

Our clients are the type of people who demand and deserve world-class legal representation, and they won’t settle for anything less. So, we do our homework, stay on top of changes and emergent issues, prepare for every scenario, collaborate when it makes sense and fight like hell when it doesn’t. 

We work just as hard to keep it. Our team of seasoned attorneys has worked diligently to help earn the respect of our Chicago-area colleagues, clients, judges, court systems and community, and we intend to keep it that way. In other words, our reputation speaks for itself.

All cases are unique, and while we prefer to approach our clients’ cases in a spirit of collaboration and negotiation, we are also not afraid to “take the gloves off” when needed. In other words, our clients’ answer to the question, “What does winning look like to you?” informs our strategies, tactics, and tone. 

You’ll have peace of mind knowing we will never push you into a lengthy, costly and unnecessary court trial. However, we will use all legal remedies to protect your rights.

Our seasoned attorneys have specific expertise in cases involving women, LGBTQ+ couples, fathers, high-net-worth individuals, dissolution of long-term marriages, spouses who own businesses, appeals and more. We’ll ensure you’re represented by an experienced LGBTQ+ divorce lawyer who understands and respects your situation, the law and how best to work through your unique challenges.

Unlike other law firms, we know how important it is to manage our client’s expectations and be available to answer their questions and concerns outside of regular business hours. You can contact us by phone, text, or email around the clock. 

Schedule an appointment at any one of our four in-person offices in Chicago, Hinsdale, Skokie and Highland Park, or conduct some or all of your court proceedings online via Zoom.  In some instances, an in-court appearance may be required by the judge. If so, you’ll typically be given at least 30 days advance notice. 

"Knowledgeable and great communication"

Our 4-Step Process

What to Expect from Our LGBTQ+ Family Lawyers and the Process of Second Parent Adoption

Step 1: Contact us by phone (312-408-7000) or email. Our intake coordinator will ask a few simple – and completely confidential – questions to connect you with the right lawyer. Depending on your schedule, your initial consultation could be scheduled as soon as the same day. 

Step 2: Consult with your attorney. During your initial conversation with your lawyer, you’ll be asked to discuss all aspects of your situation, including children, mental health, domestic violence, finances, substance use history and family history.

Step 3: Pay the retainer fee & legal process begins. In second parent adoption cases, you’ll need to submit paperwork that proves your financial situation, all prior addresses and workplaces, donor/surrogate paperwork and statements to prove morality (yeah… we know).

Step 4: Your attorney will determine, communicate, and execute your case strategy. Initially, this includes filing the appropriate paperwork. After which, the legal proceedings will begin. 


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Additional Services In LGBTQ+ Family Law

LGBTQ+ family law is a specialized area of legal practice that focuses on the unique needs and challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Our dedicated family lawyers are experienced in handling second parent adoption for LGBTQ+ families, providing legal assistance for obtaining orders of protection, navigating the intricacies of divorce, and resolving custody disputes. In all these matters, our goal is to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive compassionate, knowledgeable guidance every step of the way.

Family law is a complex area that deals with legal issues involving family relationships. These can include matters of divorce, child custody and visitation, grandparents’ rights, domestic violence, and financial settlements during separation. With these sensitive issues, it’s crucial to have knowledgeable family law attorneys who can provide comprehensive support and guidance. We are committed to resolving your family disputes {link to Family Law page} with care and competence, ensuring you’re supported throughout the process.

Even though Illinois recognized same-sex marriage in 2013, LGBTQ+ child custody laws remain complex. Engaging with an experienced attorney who specializes in LGBTQ+ divorce is critical to smoothly navigating this legal landscape. Our primary focus remains the best interest of the child and all involved parties. Our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to safeguard your LGBTQ+ adoption rights and ensure a just resolution is reached.

Domestic violence is a significant issue affecting people in and out of the LGBTQ+ community. However, individuals in queer and same-sex relationships often encounter unique challenges, such as threats related to their sexual orientation, dual discrimination, inadequate support services, and stereotypes-based misconceptions. Our team of dedicated LGBTQ+ family lawyers is committed to offering comprehensive legal support to help victims navigate these hurdles. We strive to ensure each client receives the protection and justice they rightfully deserve.

Get Support From A Top-Rated Second Parent Adoption Attorney

At Merel Family Law, we want to solve your LGBTQ+ adoption rights dispute quickly and smoothly. That starts with scheduling a consultation with our experienced intake coordinators. Then, our team of skilled LGBTQ+ adoption and family law attorneys will provide you with the support you need to navigate the complexities of a family law case.

LGBTQ+ Family Lawyers & Processes

Frequently Asked Questions

In Illinois, queer and same-sex couples file for divorce like any other couple. Since Illinois is a no-fault state, the spouse who files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage only needs to cite irreconcilable differences as a reason for divorce. You must also meet the 90-day residency requirement and file for divorce in the county where you live.

While the process is generally similar to divorcing heterosexual couples, some unique challenges may arise. Issues can occur around child custody if one partner is not the biological parent and hasn’t legally adopted the child. The court may hesitate to award visitation or custody rights in such cases. Property division can also be a contentious issue, especially for couples who have commingled assets and property in a marriage-like arrangement before same-sex marriage was legalized in Illinois in 2013.

The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 was passed when same-sex marriage became legal across the country. It provides child custody guidelines for same-sex parents, including a gender-neutral presumption of parentage that applies to the spouse of a woman regardless of their gender.

According to the Act, a person can be presumed a parent of a minor child in any of the following situations:

    • The child was born while the spouses were in a marriage or civil union.
    • The child was born within 300 days of the end of the marriage or civil union.
    • The child was born during a marriage or civil union, but the union was later declared invalid.
    • After the child’s birth, a person marries the birth mother, and the individual consents to being added to the birth certificate.

LGBTQ+ couples have the same parental rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples in Illinois. Under the Parentage Act, both parents can sign the child’s birth certificate and build parent-child relationships. To obtain parental responsibilities, a person must be declared a parent. In cases of joint LGBTQ+ adoption, both parents have equal custody and visitation rights if they file for a divorce.

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