Over the last few decades, the outlook for prospective parents in the LGBTQ+ community has improved dramatically. The hurdles and stigmas associated with creating nontraditional families are slowly fading away as the country becomes more accepting of different types of family structures. Adoption, fostering, hiring a surrogate, and using assisted reproductive technology are options open to LGBTQ+ prospective parents. Despite these social and legal advances, there are still special legal considerations that LGBTQ+ couples should prepare for when starting families.
What LGBTQ+ Parents Can Do in Philadelphia
Generally, LBGTQ+ parents who are not in cisgendered opposite-sex relationships must plan for children differently – there are rarely surprises or accidental pregnancies. When partners decide to choose to expand their families, it is important to thoroughly understand the law before a child is conceived or adopted. If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community and are looking to become a parent, here some important considerations:
- Understand Your Local and State Laws. Laws that involve LGBTQ+ parents may be different depending on where you live. Be sure to have a thorough understanding of your options and how the law will impact your family. Consider how unexpected events such as a break-up with a partner might mean for your children, and how the courts determine custody. It is best to have an attorney advise you and help you prepare for any future problems before they arise.
- Don’t Choose a Donor Lightly. While your best friend may be quick to be a sperm or egg donor and/or a surrogate, they may change their minds about being hands-off once the baby is conceived and/or born. You will want to carefully follow all legal procedures to ensure that you and your partner will have all of the rights and responsibilities of parenthood, and that the donor will not. By talking to an attorney, you can best determine what documents need to be drawn up and signed to ensure your child’s parentage is not in question.
- Look for the Right Adoption or Surrogacy Agency. Many adoption and surrogacy agencies will serve LGBTQ+ families, but some still have discriminatory policies, written or unwritten. Make sure that if you are going through a private agency, you do your research in advance.
- Talk to a Lawyer, No Matter What! Regardless of the route you want to take to have children, you will be best served by preparing well in advance. By talking to an attorney, you will be able to determine how best to navigate the legalities of family planning and prepare for situations that will impact the child if your relationship with your co-parent falls apart. You want to be sure to safeguard both the parents’ rights and your children’s best interests for the future.
Being a parent is a huge responsibility. For those in the LGBTQ+ community, having children is uniquely complicated. Before bringing a child into your family, make sure that you are prepared by talking to one of our family law attorneys today. We can help you understand your rights and ensure a smooth legal transition with your future family. Contact us today!