Custody for Lesbian Gay Families
Lesbian and Gay couples have the same rights as any other couple or family. However, there are some custody considerations that are unique to lesbian and gay couples. Such things as assisted reproductive techniques like in vitro fertilization, surrogacy and so on can complicate things legally when it comes to custody battles. However, in most cases guardianship is treated the same as for any other common law or married couple. For example a birth mother's same sex partner can claim guardianship if they are or were in a marriage like relationship at the time of birth. Egg and sperm donors are not considered parents unless they have a written agreement, which states otherwise, with the intended parents before conception.
In the case of surrogacy, all three parties must have a written agreement indicating their intentions. The surrogate mother has the option to give up parental rights upon birth of the child or they can share parental responsibilities with the intended parents. If the surrogate mother is giving up her parental rights she must give written consent give up the child to the intended parents to confirm the initial agreement. When disputes arise between surrogates and intended parents, new agreements may be necessary. The court will consider the initial agreement as evidence of the initial intentions of the parties but they may not necessarily enforce the terms of the agreement.
Step Parent Adoption and 3rd Party Adoption
If a parent remarries or enters into a new common law relationship with another partner that new partner can adopt their spouses child from the previous marriage through step parent adoption or third party adoption. Such adoption agreements are enforceable at the time of marriage or common law dissolution unless modified by the couples parenting agreement.
When complex cases arise we can help your family clearly understand your options and find an agreement that will work best for you. Regardless of the circumstances we will always put your child's interests fist.