Archives for March 2016

Supreme Court Reverses Decision Denying Same Sex Adoption

Alabama’s highest court refused to accept a Georgia court’s ruling granting this same sex couple adoption rights over the three children. The couple is identified as E.L. and V.L. in the court cases.

The Supreme Court held that a state cannot refuse to give full faith and credit to another state’s ruling just because the state disagrees with “the reasoning underlying the judgment or deems it to be wrong on the merits”.

This case reiterates the importance of maintaining the familial relationships intact and providing consistency for the children. A child should not be without their parent because a state disagrees with the law applied to legally establish that parental relationship.
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This case directly affects same sex couples who have adopted and are relocating to Alabama, but it is sending a message to all states that currently deny same sex adoptions.

Florida allows same sex adoptions by statute for married same sex couples and also for unmarried adults, so, although this case may not affect things in this state, it opens up the path for couples adopting in Florida to move freely without the fear of having their rights taken away.

Read more on the story here.

Actress Sherri Shepherd Loses Appeal; Must Pay Child Support

A Pennsylvania court ruled that actress Sherri Shepherd has to pay child support for her child born of a surrogacy prior to her divorce. This is the first court ruling in Pennsylvania making surrogacy agreements binding. Shepherd appealed that ruling since she tried to void the surrogacy agreement when she filed for divorce. The court has denied that appeal and has upheld the lower court’s ruling.

sherri_shepherdThis decision is an important one not just for Pennsylvania, but for all states, because it reiterates and confirms the importance of upholding the validity and legality of parentage via surrogacy. By treating the child support issue as they would have had the child not been born by way of assisted reproduction, the court is sending the message that a parent of a child born via surrogacy is that child’s parent in all respects.

The result here brings attention to the fact that not only should individuals consider having a child via surrogacy carefully, the attorneys and professionals helping them through the surrogacy journey should take the time to make sure the individuals are aware of this responsibility. It is one of the many conversations that should take place before anyone takes this journey.

This is a positive step for the acceptance of parentage via surrogacy in our society, legitimizing this right to procreate.