Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Kansas nixes second parent adoption

A Kansas appeals court has ruled that the state does not allow second parent adoption.  The case decided earlier this month, In re I.M., involves heterosexuals. I.M.'s mother married J.M. when I.M. was a toddler.  They raised I.M. and a biological child they had together for three years and then they divorced.  For the subsequent three years, even though I.M's mother remarried, J.M. had parenting time with both children.  I.M. refers to him as her father.

J.M. filed to adopt I.M.  The mother consented, on the condition that her rights not be terminated.  (I.M. had an identifiable biological father, but J.M. alleged that his consent was not necessary because he had had no relationship with I.M.).

In a short opinion, the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled that the statute did not permit such an adoption.  Because J.M. was no longer married to I.M.'s mother, his adoption of I.M. would terminate the mother's parental rights. The court acknowledged that some states do allow such adoptions but refused to interpret Kansas law to do so.

There is no way to distinguish this case from a second parent adoption involving a same-sex couple.  So unless the Kansas Supreme Court some day rules otherwise, there will be no second parent adoptions for children of gay and lesbian parents in Kansas.

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