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Delaney, Robb & Rubin

Beyond the Birth Certificate: Legal Protection for Same-Sex Parents

July 19, 2016 by Andrea Rubin in News

It has been a year since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Marriage Equality, and we’ve spent that year celebrating love in ways many of us thought would never be possible in our lifetimes. Although the Obergefell ruling opened a world of opportunities to the LGBTQ community, the legal world has yet to fully catch up. So while marriage is now a shared right, the legal benefits of “traditional” marriage are not as straightforward as we imagine them. One of the discrepancies I want to address with you today is parental rights.

I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve spoken with who believe their rights are automatically protected by their child’s birth certificate. Many people assume that, like a straight couple, if the names of both parents appear on the birth certificate, they are automatically considered parents in the eyes of the law. Unfortunately, due to the current limits of our legal system, this is not the case. Until the legislature catches up to the Supreme Court ruling, the only way to legally include a same-sex partner of a biological parent as the second-parent to a child is to perform a “step-parent adoption.”

Step-parent adoptions are relatively straightforward. When your child is at least six months old, the biological parent and second-parent will sign the documents prepared by your attorneys, a simple background check will be completed, and the forms will be processed by the court.

Protecting your family through step-parent adoption assures both parents the benefit of:

• Custody of your child in the event of your partner’s death
• Your child’s right to inheritance
• Custody and visitation rights in the event that the marriage is dissolved
• Your right to make medical decisions for your child and access to their medical information
• And any other legal benefits conferred to a biological or legal parent

Processing a step-parent adoption can also include changing the child’s legal name if desired, and the issuance of a new birth certificate along with several other case-specific options. Delaney, Robb, and Rubin are well versed in the nuances of same-sex family law and are here to help you with all aspects of uniting and protecting your loved ones.

To set up your appointment and begin the process of a step-parent adoption, contact Delaney, Robb, and Rubin at (504)267-9700.

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