State Laws and Legislation

Wisconsin Adoption Law

Permits single LGBT individuals to petition to adopt? Yes.
Wisconsin law permits any unmarried adult or husband and wife jointly to petition to adopt. WIS. STAT. § 48.82.

Permits a same-sex couple to jointly petition to adopt? Unclear.
Wisconsin courts have never precisely decided the issue, though they have strongly suggested that joint adoptions by unmarried individuals are not available under the current statutes. See In re Custody of H.S.H.-K., 533 N.W.2d 419, 437 n. 41 (Wis. 1995); In Interest of Angel Lace M., 516 N.W.2d 678, 685 n. 14 (Wis. 1994).

Permits a same-sex partner to petition to adopt partner’s adopted child? No.
Such an adoption would terminate the parental rights of the non-adopting parent. In Interest of Angel Lace M., 516 N.W.2d 678, 683 (Wis. 1994). (“Hence, we hold that . . . a minor is not eligible for adoption unless the rights of both of her parents have been terminated.  Because Georgina's parental rights remain intact, Angel is not eligible to be adopted by Annette.”)

Details: The state regulations do not address whether sexual orientation or gender identity or expression are factors in adoption decisions. WISC. ADMIN. CODE § 51.07.

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Updated: Mon, December 14, 2009 - 12:00:48