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How can a same-sex parent ensure they have parental rights?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2023 | Family Law |

If you are a same-sex parent in Indianapolis, Indiana, you may wonder how to protect your parental rights over your child. Parental rights are important because they give you the legal authority to make decisions about your child’s welfare, education, health care and inheritance.

You do not get rights automatically

Parental rights are not automatically granted to same-sex parents in Indiana. Depending on how you became a parent, you may face legal challenges or discrimination from the state or other parties. For example, if you are not the biological parent of your child, you may not be recognized as a legal parent on your child’s birth certificate. This could affect your ability to enroll your child in school, obtain medical records or travel with your child.

Birth certificate

If you are married to your same-sex partner, you have the right to be listed as a parent on your child’s birth certificate. This is because the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex marriage is legal nationwide and that states must respect the marital rights of same-sex couples. In 2020, the Supreme Court also rejected Indiana’s attempt to deny same-sex couples the right to be listed as parents on their children’s birth certificates. This means that if you are married to your child’s biological or adoptive parent, you are also considered a legal parent by default.

Status independent of marital status

If you are not married, or if you want to establish your parental rights independently of your marital status, you can pursue a second-parent adoption. A second-parent adoption is a legal process that allows one partner to adopt the other partner’s biological or adoptive child without terminating the first partner’s parental rights. This way, both partners can have equal parental rights and responsibilities over their child.

Assisted reproductive technology

If you are planning to use assisted reproductive technology to conceive a child, such as sperm donation, egg donation or surrogacy, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney before starting the process. ART can involve complex legal issues and contracts that may affect your parental rights and obligations. For example, you may need to obtain consent from the donor or surrogate, or establish a pre-birth order that recognizes your parental rights before the child is born. You should also make sure that the ART provider you choose is LGBTQ-friendly and follows ethical and professional standards.

As a same-sex parent in Indianapolis, Indiana, you deserve to have your parental rights respected and protected by the law. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you and your child have a secure and loving family relationship.