For same-sex couples, it is often the case that there is only one legal parent even though two people may equally parent the child and think of themselves as co-parents. This is because the status as a legal parent is automatically conveyed to the parent who has a biological connection to a child. A second-parent adoption allows a second parent to adopt a child without the "first parent" losing any parental rights. In this way, the child comes to have two legal parents. It also typically grants adoptive parents the same rights as biological parents in custody and visitation matters.

When Second-Parent Adoption is Unavailable

Because second-parent adoption is unavailable in Kansas, I will assist you in preparing a written co-parenting agreement or a custody agreement with your partner. It is important to recognize that these steps, described below, are not guaranteed to secure your parental rights because courts are not required to uphold such agreements but, rather, consider the best interest of the child the primary concern. However, in February 2013, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling protecting the rights of same-sex couples to both be recognized as the legal parents of the children they are raising together. The case involved two women, Marci Frazier and Kelly Goudschaal, who had been raising children together, but faced a custody dispute after separating. The Court ruled that the co-parenting contract the couple had signed was valid and should be recognized because their children are better off having two parents than just one. To read more on this case, click here.

 I will help you prepare a co-parenting documentation file which will include:

  • A Co-Parenting Agreement

  • A Custody Agreement

  • Other evidence to prove you are a family:

    • Domestic partnership registration
    • Records of your shared planning for pregnancy and birth or adoption
    • Health care proxies
    • Powers of attorneys
    • Reciprocal wills
    • Co-parenting agreements
    • Records of expenditures on the child's and the family's behalf
    • Photos, letters, email and records of your involvement with the child's religious, cultural, day care, scholastic or extracurricular activities.
Lisa Williams