There are so many different paths to parenthood, it’s hard to keep track! But, as the world of LGBTQ+ family-building rapidly evolves, state laws struggle to keep up. That’s why it’s so important to protect your family by establishing or securing parentage for nonbiological and/or non-gestational parents.
Paths to securing parentage for LGBTQ+ families
Depending on where you live and your family circumstances, there are a few ways that you can secure legal parentage:
Why isn’t a birth or marriage certificate enough for LGBTQ+ parents?
It’s easy to assume that because your name is on the birth certificate, you’ve established legal parentage already. However, being listed on a birth certificate alone does not conclusively establish parentage. It is evidence of a parent-child relationship, but it does not take the place of one of the other pathways to establishing or confirming parentage. You might also assume that your relationship to your child is protected because you’re legally married to your child’s gestational or biological parent. While that might mean you’re recognized in your home state as a parent, obtaining a court order or judgment provides additional security.
Given the patchwork of parentage laws across the U.S. and the bias and discrimination LGBTQ+ families still face, many families choose to obtain a court judgment confirming parentage, which must be recognized across state lines.