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Gay couples moving to protect their parental rights under Trump

Even with marriage equality the law of the land, many gay parents still find themselves having to fight for custody or even visitation of children they’ve raised, sometimes since birth, because they aren’t considered the child’s legal parent. If a couple breaks up or if the biological or legal parent dies, the other parent can find him- or herself with no rights to access to the child or to make decisions involving that child.

Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples who have children fear that under the Trump administration, their parental rights could be further eroded. He could potentially appoint one or more Supreme Court justices during his term who would overturn federal marriage equality and put it back in the hands of the individual states.

Their fears around the new administration aren’t baseless. Vice President Mike Pence has referred to homosexuality as a “choice,” and once said that marriage equality would lead to “societal collapse.”

Gay couples can take action to ensure that they are both legally recognized parents of their children. One attorney says that this can be accomplished via a second parent or stepparent adoption. Another option, she says, is a court order. However, it should be one that’s recognized in all states.

Codifying your legal parental rights to a child who isn’t biologically yours can help prevent legal conflicts farther down the line. However, some couples never get around to it. The uncertainty around LGBT rights under the new administration seems to be spurring people to take this step to protect their relationship with their children.

The attorney said, “The day after the election, my phone started ringing and clients who didn’t think they needed to do a second parent or step-parent adoption now were concerned about their parental rights being in jeopardy.” She encourages couples to act sooner rather than later because “[t]his administration seems to be moving very quickly.”

If you want to take steps to ensure that you are recognized as a legal parent of your child, regardless of what may happen in your marriage or to your spouse, you should seek the guidance of a Nevada family law attorney. He or she can discuss the pros and cons of the various legal options.

Source: ABC 7, “How will Donald Trump’s Administration Impact Same-Sex Parents?,” Marc Brown, Jan. 19, 2017

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