Dissolving a same-sex marriage comes with many of the same hurdles that differing-sex unions experience, such as agreements surrounding the division of property, child custody, and spousal support. There are, however, certain aspects of these unions that are unique. This is the case regarding surrogacy and parental rights in same-sex divorces in Alpharetta.
If you and your partner are considering going your separate ways, it is best to work with legal representation that has the experience needed to advocate for the rights of you and your family properly. Reach out to one of our uniquely qualified LGBTQ divorce attorneys to learn more.
A surrogacy arrangement is when an individual has someone else carry an unborn child for them. In same-sex partnerships, it can be the child of either party or the child of neither. Because surrogacy is a contract between the biological or Intended Parent and the person who will be carrying the baby to term, there are no specific surrogacy laws in Georgia. This makes it vital to ensure that the terms of the arrangement are clear and written in a way that protects the rights of everyone involved.
Surrogacy is based on the presumption that the person carrying the child to term is not one of the biological parents. This means they would not have the same automatic rights to custody upon giving birth and the surrogate cannot refuse to give the child to the Intended Parents. An Alpharetta attorney with experience navigating same-sex child custody and surrogacy arrangements during a divorce can ensure that parents understand their legal rights and responsibilities.
If a same-sex couple decides to separate during or after the surrogate process, they will be faced with serious questions regarding parental rights and the distribution of medical costs. If the individual who is not the child’s biological parent wants physical or legal custody, they will have to assert it under Georgia family law. This can be accomplished by either a step-parent or second-parent adoption; or by establishing parental rights in a parentage order or surrogacy agreement.
If both Intended Parents are not biologically related to the child, one of these agreements is likely already in place. If this is the case, custody would be determined based on the child’s best interests. This includes factors such as the parent’s ability to provide for the child and their willingness to facilitate a relationship with the other parent.
Typically, when a couple enters into a contract with a surrogate, the Intended Parents are responsible for paying all the medical costs for the child and at least some of the costs for the surrogate. Determining how child support and the cost of assistive reproduction will be addressed in the event of a same-sex divorce would depend on where the process currently stands.
If the child has already been born, child support and associated costs will be calculated similarly to any other divorce. Both parents’ gross incomes and the costs of caring for the child would be estimated. The non-custodial parent would be responsible for a portion of these expenses based on the percentage of their overall contribution to the family’s combined income. However, if separation happens before the child is born, these amounts will largely depend on Georgia family courts to decide based on the language of the surrogacy contract.
At the Atlanta Divorce Law Group, our attorneys know that the dissolution of a marriage is not an easy process. Understanding complexities such as surrogacy and parental rights in same-sex divorce is paramount to ensuring custody decisions are based on your and your child’s best interests. We can provide the knowledge and support you need during this difficult time. Contact our firm to speak with one of our skilled team members today.