Same-Sex Divorce, Adoption, and Surrogacy Agreements
When the United State Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal, it opened up the door for the LGBTQ community to many options that were never there before. Marriage is now a possibility, as are the protections that can come from an official divorce. In addition to the right to marry, same-sex couples can adopt children and enter into surrogacy agreements. At Henry & Beaver, LLP., we are here to help you whether you are facing a divorce or deciding to expand your family.
While we applaud the right for same-sex couple to get married, we also understand that sometimes, marriages do not last. Same-sex divorce is the same process as any other divorce. This means you need to file the divorce in the county of residence and determine which kind of divorce you wish to file. There are two options:
- At-fault divorce: This involves proving that your spouse committed a certain “bad” act or that you were mistreated. For example, adultery or domestic violence can be grounds for an at-fault divorce.
- No-fault divorce: This is when both parties agree to the divorce. They can file a petition for divorce saying there is mutual consent for the termination. This is the fastest and easiest divorce to file as no hearing is required.
The attorneys at Henry & Beaver, LLP, understand how law can affect same-sex couples when choosing to get married or when facing a divorce. We are here to answer your questions and help you through the legal processes.
Adoption is a beautiful act of love and caring. Deciding to adopt a child, whether it is your spouse’s child or a adoption arranged through an agency, can be stressful and overwhelming. We, at Henry & Beaver, understand how important this decision is and we are here to answer questions and help you through the process.
The state of Pennsylvania permits any individual who desires to adopt a child the opportunity to do so. There are no laws prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting a child, should they decide to do so. While there are no laws prohibiting this, it is important to remember that those involved in the adoption process may be biased based on their upbringing, political affiliations, and religious beliefs.
Same-sex couples will undergo the same process to adopt a child as any other couple would. This will include an application process, home studies, and being selected by a birth mother to be the child’s parents. For more information on the adoption process visit our adoption page.
Second-parent adoption is a common adoption for LGBT couples. This involves one spouse adopting the other spouse’s child. It is an important step in making the family feel whole and complete. In Pennsylvania, heterosexual parents have built in protections under Pennsylvania laws. These do not automatically apply to same-sex couples.
Typically, in these situations, one spouse is the biological parent through some form of assistive reproduction. Therefore, this parent automatically receives all rights as the child’s parent and guardian. The other spouse will not have the legal parent-child relationship. Through second-parent adoptions, you can ensure that both parents have complete legal rights to the child.
What is a surrogate mother?
A surrogate mother is a woman who consents to carry another’s child. Using some form of assisted reproductive technology, this woman will become pregnant and carry the child to term. Once the baby is born, he or she is released to the intended parents.
Who can use a surrogate?
Using a surrogate is a great option for couples suffering from infertility, but it is also allows gay male couples (with the help of an egg donor) to become parents. Anyone with the desire to become a parent but is facing difficulties in sustaining a pregnancy or simply cannot get pregnant can use a surrogate.
Do I need a lawyer?
Regardless of the parent’s background, deciding to use a surrogate can be complex situation, emotionally, legally, and financially. It is important to consult with an experienced family law team that can help you navigate this process. At Henry & Beaver, we understand that the legal process of becoming a parent through surrogacy is overwhelming. We are here to help you each step of the way and have the experience to draft a surrogacy agreement to protect your rights as a future parent.
What is the purpose of a surrogacy agreement?
The surrogacy agreement is a legal document that sets forth the intentions of each party involved, the potential parents and the surrogate mother. The agreement will clearly state that the surrogate mother will surrender all parental, legal, and physical rights of the child to the intended parents. The agreement will also explain the rights and responsibilities of the intended parents.
Get the Experienced Help You Need
The experienced family law attorneys at Henry & Beaver can help you through the legal processes of getting a same-sex divorce, adopting a child, and drafting surrogacy agreements. Call our office to schedule an appointment. (717) 274-3644