Q: My wife and I live in New York City and are happily expecting our first child (conceived via an anonymous donor). However, I might have to be temporarily transferred to a different state for work. Should I turn down the transfer so that my second-parent adoption will not be jeopardized?

A: Best wishes on a happy and healthy pregnancy to you and your wife! A second-parent adoption remains the only way to guarantee equal parental rights for same-sex partners, and your concern in preserving this legal option is commendable.

As you might already know, a second-parent adoption can not be filed in the court until a child is born. During pregnancy, expectant parents often begin the process of gathering required documents (like individual medical notes, taxes, and past addresses) but certain papers (like reference letters, the home study, and the actual legal documents which contain the child’s first name) can not be drafted until after birth. The court will not accept or docket a partially completed adoption packet.

Since New York is your current residence, you have two options regarding your future second-parent adoption:

1) Depending on where you will be transferred and if your wife and child will also be residing in that state, second-parent adoption may be an option once you meet the individual state’s residency requirements. For an updated list of states allowing second-parent adoption, visit the Family Equality Council’s map.

2) If your wife and child remain in New York, or continue to live primarily in the state, New York law allows an adoption petition to be filed in the county where either the potential adoptive parent lives, or where the adoptive child lives. Depending on the county in which you live, the court may request two home studies (instead of just one): one for your home in New York and one for your home in the new state. This allows the court to examine any home that you offer the child, presuming that the child will visit you in your temporary residence.

Please Note: The information provided in this article, or its content is about legal issues but it is not intended as legal advice.

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