Apprehension about whether parentage orders or adoption orders will be recognized when moving to a new state has often concerned our same-sex clients. And now the recent Dobbs v. Jackson ruling has brought additional concern to individuals of the LGBTQ+ community regarding their rights to their children.

Every state will give Full Faith and Credit to adoption orders from every state throughout the U.S.  In our experience, this is unfortunately not necessarily the case with parentage orders (aka a pre-birth order).Prospective and current parents should understand their rights before and after the adoption process.. This post outlines the recommended steps LGBTQ+ families can take to protect themselves and their marriage.

Feel More Secure – Protect Your Marriage

One of the first things a family can do to protect their family is to assemble estate planning documents. This is the best practice for any couple. These documents include General Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, as well as a Will or Trust. Each of these legal documents can help ensure that your partner can make financial, healthcare, and posthumous decisions for you.

Unmarried partners can also find legal protection using these documents, especially because they are not given the default protections given by marriage.

Protect Your Family – Obtain a Court Order of Parentage Or Adoption

The best way to protect your family is to ensure your parent-child relationship is legally recognized. All non-genetic or non-gestational parents should obtain a court order confirming their parentage, preferably through adoption. This applies to traditional couples as well as to LGBTQ+ parents who are married, even if both parents are listed on a child’s birth certificate.

At Stuart & Blackwell, our attorneys have seen a significant increase in families seeking a second-parent adoption to solidify the rights of both intended parents. This process ensures that the non-genetic parent, or non-gestational carrier, have an order of adoption confirming their parentage that will be honored in every state, regardless of what further changes the Supreme Court may make.

Where to Start

Find an attorney. The attorneys at Stuart & Blackwell are experts in estate planning, adoption, and family law. Finding an attorney is the first step in ensuring the protection of your marriage and parentage. It is important to us that you feel knowledgeable and secure in your adoption process during this time.