Protecting The Rights of Same Sex Partners When Not Biological Parents
As a same sex couple, you and your partner deal with the same types of problems that any couple would face. When it comes to your children, though, serious issues can arise if you are not the biological parent. When it comes to protecting your rights to child custody and visitation in the event of a divorce or separation, there are important steps you need to take to ensure you remain a part of your child’s life.
Protecting Your Legal Rights in Adoption Proceedings
Equality Florida advises that the ban restricting same sex couples from adopting a child was ruled unconstitutional in 2010, but it was not until June of 2015 that Governor Rick Scott signed the repeal that removed this law from the state statutes. This was also the year in which same sex marriage became fully legal in the state. Couples who adopted prior to this time may have chosen to use only one parent in adoption proceedings, which could create an issue in the event of a divorce or separation. If you and your spouse or partner are currently together, it is important to take the steps now to be named as your child’s legal parent:
- File a petition for adoption in with your local family court;
- If your child was previously adopted under the Florida’s adoption statutes, parental rights of the biological parents have previously been terminated and their consent is not required.
- As your adoption technically falls under the guidelines used for step parents, the requirements for a home study or other reports and recommendations are waived as well.
If you are currently separated from your partner or are in the process of going through a divorce, you will need to collect evidence, such as financial statements showing you provided for housing and other living expenses for the child and statements from family, friends, and your child’s teachers, to defend your rights as a parent.
Identifying Yourself As the Legal Parent When Using A Surrogate
If you and your partner are using a surrogate to have a child, Chapter 742 of the Florida Statutes states that you may petition the court for an expedited affirmation of parental status within three days of your child’s birth. It is vitally important to make sure both you and your partner both are named in the petition as parents. Once a hearing is held to ensure the surrogate contract conforms to state law, you may request having both of your names placed on the child’s birth certificate from the Florida Department of Health’s Vital Statistics office.
If a surrogate was previously used and you were not included on the birth certificate, you will need to follow the above procedures for establishing yourself as a legal parent.
Our Florida Child Custody Attorneys Can Help
The bond between you and your child exists regardless of whether you are their biological parent, but to protect your relationship it is important to follow the appropriate legal steps. Whether you are currently with your partner or going through a separation or divorce, contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. and request a consultation in our Orlando or Tampa office for legal guidance in establishing your parental rights.