Happy NYC Pride to everyone!
At IRMS we care deeply about the LGBTQ community and seek to help LGBTQ couples grow their families through our services. Important aspects of family building that LGBT couples need to consider are securing their parental rights. Unfortunately, the laws are still unclear as to who retains parental rights when a couple divorces, and it is important for all members to know and secure their rights should any controversy arise between the couple.
A recent parental rights case from Tennessee once again highlights the necessity for non-biological parents to secure their rights. The court has ruled that the non-biological parent of a child born to a same-sex couple via anonymous artificial insemination has no parental rights to that child. Since the non-biological mother failed to secure her rights through adoption, she has no decision-making rights or requirements of financial support now that the couple has divorced. In the wake of DOMA’s strike down in 2015, states are now slowly defining the rights of same-sex parents since typically one of the parents is not biologically related to the child. IRMS reproductive lawyer Bill Singer states “that you cannot depend on a birth certificate as a sign of parental rights, particularly in New Jersey”. Recently our courts in New Jersey have defined a parent only as 1) gestating a child, 2) contributing genetic material or 3) legally adopting or through parentage orders. It is important to understand the laws of whichever state you reside in before you embark on growing your family. At IRMS, we work with Bill Singer and Melissa Brisman, both reproductive lawyers, who guide families through the adoption process and support LGBTQ couples in securing their parental rights. Both have helped write legislation in New Jersey and other states regarding the parental rights of same-sex couples.
For more information about IRMS reproductive services for the LGBT community please contact us through our website or call (973) 322-8286.