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ENVIRONMENT: FAMILIES COME IN ALL SHAPES & SIZES


CO-PARENTING IN TODAY’S LEGAL


BY THERESA M. ERICKSON, ESQ.


For many years gay and lesbian individuals have been joining together in a way that is much more personal than their goal of equality. This joint venture is the creation of a child, or even more importantly a family. Whether it is a gay man (or couple) and a lesbian woman (or couple) using the man’s sperm to inseminate the woman or two lesbians joining together to create a child by using artificial insemination, the fact that a child is being created cannot be overlooked.


And, with creating a child, one places themselves in the position that can both be legally challenged or legally enforced in ways not expected. For example, what happens when two lesbians use artificial insemination to create a child, and the women decide to separate or divorce? Who gets the child, or who pays support? Well, there are not clear answers in so many ways for anyone. In fact, those who sign co-parenting agreements are not always guaranteed, as was seen in a recent case in Utah, where one woman lost her


parental rights due to the fact that she was not biologically related to the child. I am certain that the political climate in Utah did not help this case either.


But, the LGBT community continues to grow their families in this manner both in person and by meeting online to “parent” together without being romantically involved. They see this as an innovative way for allowing children to have the involvement of a father (for lesbians) or the involvement of a mother (for a gay dad) in the lives of their children, according to www.proudparenting.com. I personally think that families come in all shapes and sizes, but one cannot move into this situation blindly without the help of legal representation. Too much can go wrong, and as with any couple, gay or straight, you never know your significant other until you are at odds.


Ultimately, what is most important is that you obtain independent counsel that completely understands the legal landscape that you are facing, as well as ensure


THE RESOURCES LISTED IN THIS DIRECTORY ARE UNSCREENED AND SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED AS RECOMMENDATIONS OR ENDORSEMENTS, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, BY THE AFA. 87


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