Establishing Parentage for LGBTQ+ Parents

A family is a family. One family may look a little different from the next, but the core of what makes having a family great still stands and is worthy of protection. Parentage brings not only the honor and responsibilities of being a parent but legal ground to stand on in upholding those protections.

Heterosexual couples will generally not face as many boundaries relating to parentage unless there are legitimate questions as to who the father is. After all, the biological mother is naturally going to be the person who gave birth to the child. For some LGBTQ+ parents, however, parentage may not be as straightforward, putting certain parental rights at risk.

Risks of Not Establishing Parentage

Establishing legal parentage in Texas provides you with the same rights and protections other Texas parents have. Throughout your children’s lives, there will be times when a legal parent will be needed to make important healthcare, financial, and other crucial decisions. Without legal standing, those decisions could be left in the hands of someone else – stripping you of control over critical elements of your children’s lives.

Even when one parent is biologically the parent of your child, the other parent may not have the assumed legal parentage that a father would thanks to outdated laws on the matter. Some states do not recognize birth certificates that list two parents of the same gender. Texas does, but if you are traveling out of state that birth certificate may not suffice as legal evidence of your parental rights.

Methods of Establishing Parentage

The boundaries established in law can be overcome in a variety of ways. The most common method of establishing parentage as a same-sex couple will be through the legal adoption process. If one parent has legal parentage as the gestational carrier of your child, only the other parent would need to go through the legal adoption process.

Many LGBTQ+ (and even heterosexual couples) opt for surrogacy in order to add to their families. On top of planning for the legal adoption process at the end of the surrogacy, it’s important to establish a surrogacy agreement prior to the process getting underway. This sets the boundaries each side of the agreement would like to observe and avoids the rare case where a surrogate mother attempts to secure parental rights that weren’t previously planned for.

Talk to an Attorney

These issues have become more relevant in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned. While most of the focus of that Supreme Court decision was on abortion rights, it also created more questions and concerns in the LGBTQ+ community. As it stands, same-sex couples need to be aware of and secure their parental rights.

At Erinakes Law, we can assist same-sex couples through the parentage process in Texas. Contact us today and protect your family.

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Erinakes Law, PLLC

Erinakes Law is a dependable Texas family law firm dedicated to helping you resolve your legal matter. I will work closely with you to hone in on your goals and come up with a strategy to find the best outcome for you, your finances, and your children. I have experience in negotiation, mediation, and litigation to resolve your case and protect your rights at every step along the way. These skills will be important to get the result you want, especially when dealing with challenging co-parenting scenarios.

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