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Same-sex parents can now decide how birth certificates read

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2016 | Same-Sex Couples & Divorce |

It has been several months since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision legalizing same-sex marriage in every state. And as you would expect, there has been a domino effect as other laws and rules are adjusted on the state level. For example, one important change involves the birth certificates of children of same-sex parents.

The Texas Vital Statistics Unit has made rule changes allowing parents to choose how birth certificates can read. This means that if a baby has two mothers or two fathers, both can be labeled as such on the certificate.

Previously in cases where a surrogate was used, only the child’s biological parent’s name could appear on a birth certificate. Likewise, in cases of adoption, only one parent’s name could be entered on the document. Now, the birth certificate can contain both names and appropriate designations of mothers or fathers.

Yet in spite of this change, it is recommended that non-biological parents adopt the child in addition to having his or her name on the birth certificate. This can be extremely important if the parents decide to split up. The reason is that even if both parents’ names appear on the certificate, a judge may still opt to grant custody to the biological parent.

Moreover, if the biological mother should die, her parents may attempt to gain custody. Again, without having legally adopted the child, the non-birth parent’s rights may not be considered valid by the court, in spite of having her name on the birth certificate.

So as you can see, while some things are moving forward, there are still a number of areas that can prove more complicated for same-sex parents. As such, if you are a same-sex parent and are facing divorce, you may want to contact a Texas family law attorney. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the current legal statutes pertaining to same-sex divorce and act on your behalf regarding child custody issues.