Ask the Lawyer: What Impact Does LGBT Marriage Have On Parentage in Pennsylvania – Part II?

Q: What Impact Does LGBT Marriage Have On Parentage in Pennsylvania – Part II?

Since same-sex marriages are recognized in the State of Pennsylvania, and a presumption of paternity (parentage) may apply, why would someone need the extra protection of second or step-parent adoption?

The answer is simple. Even though the presumption of paternity (parentage) may apply and Pennsylvania recognizes same-sex marriage, this does not mean that every State will do the same. Therefore, if one of the parents relocate to a State that does not recognize their marriage or the rights associated with children of such marriages, they may encounter custody issues in these States if they do not have the required Decrees/Order of Court to assert these rights.

Therefore, for added protection, a Step-parent or Second-Parent Adoption will still be necessary, even if same-sex couples are married. The Department of Health may issue birth certificates with the married couple’s names on it, but since this is an administrative document and not a Court Order, an adoption is still required for absolute protection. This way, if a marriage is not recognized by a particular State, parental rights based on that marriage will also not be recognized, but a Court Order should always be recognized.
When dealing with legal issues as a result of infertility or infertility treatments, you should speak to an attorney experienced in the knowledge of Adoption/Assisted Reproductive Technology Law. Understanding the law and your options is paramount in the forefront of your journey.

Dorota Gasienica-Kozak, Esquire,
Chair of the KingSpry Adoption/ART Law Practice Group