Throughout Massachusetts, LGBTQ couples have used surrogacy, adoption and in vitro fertilization to grow their families. In fact, the state leads the nation in assisted reproduction. Unfortunately, state law has been slow to adapt to these changes and many people find that they don’t have parental rights even after years spent raising a child in their home.

To clarify the different pathways to legal parenthood and update the state’s decades-old law concerning assisted reproduction, various groups are supporting the Massachusetts Parentage Act. This legislation attempts to put the children of same-sex parents on an equal footing with their friends. Currently, families are forced to navigate the legal system on their own if they want to establish legal parentage for a child with whom they do not share biological ties. Specific provisions of the proposed law include the following:

  • Terminology updates — Instead of referring to children born “out of wedlock,” the law would be renamed to refer to the parentage of “nonmarital children.” Under the proposed statute, language used in the Voluntary Acknowledgements of Parentage is also revised to be gender neutral.   
  • Children born from assisted reproduction — It can take a great deal of time for same-sex spouses to establish legal parentage when a child is born through assisted reproduction. This might create a serious problem if a medical concern or some other situation arises and the available parent is not recognized as having authority to make decisions on the youth’s behalf. The Parentage Act allows individuals to execute a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage so that the child’s true parents can secure legal rights quickly and easily.
  • Children born through surrogacy — Rather than the current system which forces same-sex parents who add a child to their family through surrogacy to complete the long, costly adoption process, the proposed law creates a clear, efficient framework for these proceedings.

Currently, same-sex couples who have children through nontraditional means sometimes experience heartbreaking child custody disputes, because a mother or father who has lived with and loved their child for years might not have the right to parenting time after a breakup.

Regardless of the nature of your relationship, Greco Law, PLLC in Woburn can explain the current state of the law and advise on how it affects you and your children. We serve clients across the Boston area, including Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties. Please call 978-806-6922 or contact me online to make an appointment.