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Adoption is a formal process by which a person may become a fully recognized legal parent. If two people (generally a couple) adopt a child together, this is a joint adoption. Once a joint adoption has been properly completed, each member of the couple is a full legal parent of the child. The rights of the adopting individuals are equal, and the parental status of each individual does not depend on the continuing relationship between the adults. Thus, if the adults separate, each remains a legal parent of the child. Disputes about child-rearing at that point may lead to custody litigation. Thus, there are significant consequences to completing a joint adoption. At the same time, joint adoption is not always available to same-sex couples. This ...

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