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LGBTQ Adoptions

Koenig│Dunne is proud to have served the LGBTQ community for many years. We have worked closely with Lamda Legal Defense Fund, which is the nation’s oldest organization promoting LGBTQ rights.  We have also worked with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as well as Nebraska’s local ACLU chapter.

Koenig│Dunne has lead the charge in numerous landmark cases before the Nebraska Supreme Court and Court of Appeals to fight for justice for LGBTQ families.  In the case of Russell v. Brigdens, our legal team assisted a lesbian mother to have the adoption of her son recognized and upheld in Nebraska.

In November 2014, Koenig|Dunne partnered with The American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Nebraska to file a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of seven couples who sought state recognition of their marriages or who sought the freedom to marry in Nebraska.  As attorneys of record in Waters v. Ricketts, Koenig|Dunne sought to overturn Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage as an unlawful discrimination against LGBTQ families.

The recent United States Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges now allows all Nebraskans the freedom to marry and to have their marriages recognized by the State of Nebraska. Along with obtaining state protections and rights of marriage, same-sex married couples are now also afforded access to stepparent adoptions.

Adoption is a process that creates a legal parent-child status between parties who do not have a biological parent-child relationship. Once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents have the same rights and obligations as legal or biological parents and acquire rights such as custody and inheritance.

Stepparent adoption is a permanent transfer of parental rights and responsibilities. Once a stepparent adoption is finalized, it cannot be revoked or nullified, except in very rare and serious situations.  The adoption is not terminated if the parents’ subsequently divorce.

To be eligible for a stepparent adoption, certain legal requirements must be met, including, but not limited to:

  • The adopting and legal parent must be married.
  • The adoptive parent must be a resident of Nebraska for at least one year prior to filing.
  • The child’s other legal parent must relinquish his or her parental rights.
  • The child’s other legal parent must consent to the adoption. If no other legal parent exists, your attorney will be able to advise you on the options to finalize the stepparent adoption.
  • If the child is 12 years or older, the child must consent to the adoption.

When the adoption is completed, the child and family will have the following benefits:

  • A new name for the child may be established (if desired).
  • A new birth certificate may be obtained.
  • The child will have two legal parents.
  • The child will have the ability to inherit from adoptive parent.

Contact Koenig|Dunne to learn more about obtaining a stepparent adoption in Nebraska. Let our compassionate and experienced legal team support you through the process of legally establishing the recognition and rights of your family.