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1 thing you must have as a same-sex parent

If you are in a same-sex marriage and have decided to have a baby with your partner, and your partner will be the biological parent, it is vital you not only legally adopt your child, but you also create a parenting plan with your partner. Some courts simply do not recognize same-sex second parents to have any relevance when determining things like custody and visitation rights, should you and your partner divorce. In some courts, you are actually treated like a complete stranger even if you could demonstrate you have played an integral part in your child's life to date. Other courts will recognize and allow for visitation rights, even if you have not legally adopted, labeling you a "de facto" parent.

When determining if there is, in fact, a "de facto" parent, the court looks at the effort made between the spouses regarding co-parenting that imply intentions to recognize both spouses as parents, the length of time the same-sex partners were involved in a relationship and whether during this time, the child resided with them, and the existence of a parenting agreement.

This is one reason the parenting agreement is so vital. Just like the prenuptial agreement, the parenting agreement serves to remove any doubt about the intentions of both parties entering into an agreement, regardless of how emotions may later cause them to try to refute that these were ever valid intentions.

The parenting agreement can be as comprehensive as desired and can, and probably should, be very specific about how much time would be granted to the second parent, should the couple divorce.

If you are concerned about your same-sex marriage and want to ensure your child is safe and that you will never have your bond challenged, you may benefit from working with a California family law attorney on drawing up a parenting agreement.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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