Post-Election Legal Safeguards: What LGBT Families Need to Know
Since the 2016 election, you may be worried about your family's security — particularly if you are a same-sex couple raising children. Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) recommend that you take immediate steps to safeguard your family.
MAKE SURE YOUR LEGAL TIES ARE SECURE.
Lambda Legal urges that both parents secure their legal ties to their children. Depending on the state where you live, a second-parent adoption, a step-parent adoption, or a joint adoption is advised even if both parents’ names are already on the child’s birth certificate. If you are not married, and if your state does not permit a formal adoption judgment for unmarried parents, Lambda suggests you seek a parentage order. We could not agree more. A birth certificate is an administrative document; it is not a legal recognition of your parental rights. Only a court order of parentage, through an adoption or other parentage proceeding, can give you those parental rights if you are not the parent who delivered the baby.
BOTH PARENTS' NAMES SHOULD BE LISTED ON IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS.
Confirm that both parents' names are included on each child’s Social Security number record.
Obtain a passport for each child that lists both parents as the child’s legal parents.
As noted on Path2Parenthood's website, LGBT parents should take the four steps outlined.
The legal director of NCLR states that it is unlikely anyone's marriage will be challenged post-election. She recommends, “if you or anyone you know encounters any problem with your marriage being fully respected, contact NCLR or another LGBT legal group immediately.”