T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 50934
posted 08-02-2011 08:31 PM
So finally gay marriage is now legal, which I have waited for the whole time I knew I was gay. Let's say, I wanna have kids when I get married. Also, I'm sure my partner will. When I marry, I want me and my partner to legally be the moms. I wants both to be parents of our kids. My question is, if my partner gets pregnant and has a baby, will they put me on the birth certificate and let me adopt the child if I got married to her in NY? Also, I wanna adopt. If I adopt, can I name the kid? And U know how florida doesn't allow gay marriage or adoption? Well, If I legally marry in NY, AND legally become a mom with my wife, and the move to FL with our kids, how wld things work out there if FL is still like that by then?
Member # 64549
posted 08-03-2011 08:13 AM
Ok, I'm not an expert in family law (nor am I a lawyer), but I've read a lot about this and I can take a crack at it.
(If you're ever actually in this situation in the future, where you're looking to have a child with a partner, or looking to move to a state where gay adoption isn't legal, you should definitely talk to a lawyer, because these laws are changing at lightspeed and there are a lot of different things that factor into them.) But here are the basics: gay adoption is 100% legal in NY--and it was before gay marriage was legalized. And, actually, after a court case last year, gay adoption is legal in Florida, too. In many states, including NY, couples (same sex or opposite sex) can adopt even if they're not married, but this really depends on the state. And it's usually much easier to adopt if you are married. Now, you might want to know that there are some complications to getting your name on the birth certificate if your partner is the biological mother of the baby, even when same-sex adoption is totally legal. This can depend on how you choose to conceive the child. For instance, if your partner were to get pregnant through an anonymous sperm donor, or a sperm bank, there'd be pretty much no problem with you being recognized as the second parent. Things can get a little more complicated if you ask a man you know to donate sperm, because there'd be a known biological parent, who might decide to claim paternity. Depending on the laws in the state, he might actively have to give up his parental rights before you could adopt. Things get even more complicated if you move to other states. Mostly, states (even ones that don't recognize gay adoption on their own) have to recognize adoptions performed in other states. However, the states that don't recognize gay adoptions can do things like refuse to issue new birth certificates, even if you've already adopted in another state. (This came up when two same-sex parents in NY adopted a baby who was born in Louisiana. The adoption in NY was completely legal, but Louisiana refused to issue a new birth certificate for the baby listing both adoptive parents.) Mostly, though, the states would have to recognize the adoption itself. As for your question about naming the baby, it really, really depends on how you adopt. There are a lot of different types of adoption- you can adopt through a state agency, through a private agency, or one-on-one with a pregnant woman. You can choose an open adoption, where the child's birth mother maintains a relationship with the child, or a closed adoption, where she doesn't. You can adopt an infant, or you can adopt a somewhat older child. All of these factors would play into whether or not you would get to name the child--for instance if you chose to adopt a 7-year-old, it would be pretty weird for him or her to have to change the name they were used to being called. Different agencies might also have different policies. Most of the time, though, when you adopt an infant, the adoptive parents are the ones who choose the name.
Member # 50934
posted 08-03-2011 09:45 AM
About the birth parent thing, so if it's an anonymous sperm donor, and U doh know him, then it's more likely for me to be recognized as the second mom? My mom had an anonymous sperm donor to have me (only she's not a lesbian, she was single). Now only my mom is on the birth certificate and has parental rights. (I mean, I do think I wanna meet my "dad") In fact, when I have babies when I'm older, I deff want an anonymous donor. And if neither me or my partner know who he is, then we're more likely to both legally be the mothers?
Member # 60279
posted 08-03-2011 10:15 AM
I'm not a lawyer either. I can answer this only for the state I live in (MA), where gay marriage has been legal for a comparatively long time.
In MA, the person currently married to a woman who gives birth (or her former spouse who divorced her within 300 days of the birth) is automatically listed on the birth certificate as the father, unless that person fills out an affidavit of non-paternity. On the one hand, this is ridiculous: the average pregnancy lasts only 280 days, so the 300 day limit is really silly. On the other hand, it is an incredible convenience for women married to other women. Provided that they stay in Massachusetts. In order to assure that their parental rights remain enforceable if one or both of them leaves the state, lesbian couples here often go through the process of second parent adoption, even though they can put both of their names on the birth certificate. I know of one person who had a baby, which her partner did not want to parent (their relationship tanked well before the baby was born), who was able to get that guy to relinquish his paternal rights so that she could "adopt" her baby and be legally all the parents the baby had. The birth certificate lists her twice. My understanding is that this is pretty rare - courts feel that it's in the best interests of the child to have two parents, and may prevent people from relinquishing parental rights in this way. It is much more likely for a birth certificate for a baby conceived by anonymous sperm donation to list the father as "unknown." Your best bet for naming the baby is to either be pregnant yourself or cooperate with your partner on that project. Whoever the baby's legal parents are at the time of birth get to fill out the birth certificate - depending on state law, that may or may not include same-sex spouses. New birth certificates are issued after adoption, but if your partner remains a legal parent, she can legally name the baby too. This could be a huge psychodramatic mess. However, most states allow parents considerable latitude in how they fill out birth certificates. When my kids were born, we could have named them anything we wanted. We did not have to give them our last name - we could have chosen or invented an entirely new one.
Member # 64549
posted 08-03-2011 10:35 AM
If you use an anonymous sperm donor, it is usually easier for you to get recognized as the second parent (especially if you're legally married to your partner) because there's no one else who could make a legal claim to second parent status. When people donate sperm to anonymous sperm banks, they typically sign a waiver at the time they donate surrendering all parental rights in any children that could be born from the sperm they donated.