LGBTQ+ Family Law

Proud Supporters and Advocates of LGBTQ Families of North Carolina

The attorneys and staff at Village Law Group know that families come in many different forms. We help two-parent families, single parents, same-sex couples, multi-generational families, foster families, and those related not by blood, but by love. Regardless of the form the family takes, our first concern is to achieve security for all families, and to put the interests of the children first. Our goal is to develop creative and effective solutions to protect and honor all families regardless of how they are made or defined.

As of October 10, 2014, same-sex couples are allowed to get legally married in North Carolina, and their out-of state marriages will also be recognized as of the date of marriage. As a result, same-sex married couples are now subject to the same laws as heterosexual married couples; which means they can take advantage of the many benefits associated with marriage, as well as be subject to the same obligations that accompany marriage.

After serving as a zealous advocate for the civil rights of the LGBT community for the last 15 years, we at Village Law Group understand the many ramifications that result from the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage. Consult with an attorney at Village Law Group to learn more about the possible ramifications of your current or anticipated same-sex marriage, and feel free to review our frequently-asked-questions about marriage, divorce and parentage.

Adoptions for LGBT Families

Adoption law creates the legal relationship of parent and child between people who may not have a biological or legal parent/child relationship. A Decree of Adoption usually means that the legal relationship is completely severed between the adopted child and the biological parents and is replaced by a legal relationship between the adopted child and the adoptive parent(s); however, this does not apply in a stepparent adoption. For all legal purposes—including support and inheritance rights—adopted children become the children of their adoptive parents. The best interests and needs of the child are the primary purpose and goal of the laws governing adoptions.

The lawyers at Village Law Group assist families, blended families, same-sex couples, single parents, step-parents, and adoptive parents through the legal process of adoption. Adoption can be an exciting and rewarding experience.

Stepparent Adoptions for Same-Sex Couples Still Recommended

  1. North Carolina General Statutes 130A-101 provides the husband (read gender neutrally: spouse) of the birth mother a presumption of legal parentage, and said presumption can be overcome with the demonstration of a genetic relationship between the child and another person. With two women on the birth certificate, we fear the possibility that an argument could be made that the lack of genetic relationship between the presumed parent and the child is sufficient evidence to overcome the presumptive parentage of the spouse. This lack of genetic relationship will be obvious on a birth certificate with two female names in a way it would not be obvious if there were a male name and a female name.
  2. In the event of the death of the genetic/birth mother, hostile family members could potentially claim that the genetic relationship between the birth mother’s family members and the child could overcome the presumptive parentage of the non-genetic/birth parent since NC statutes clearly favor and permit genetics as a means of disturbing presumptive parentage in spouses.
  3. Insurance companies often define “child” of the insured as the “biological or adopted child.” Without a confirmatory stepparent adoption, the child is only the presumptive child of the non-bio parent, and doesn’t technically fit the definition required to receive benefits through the non-bio parent. This could be the reason that insurance companies need to deny claims they don’t want to pay anyway.
  4. Portability is a concern. States are required to offer full faith and credit to judicial orders and decrees from other states. But when a non-bio mom got on the birth certificate by operation of a law that is not written in a gender neutral manner (though applied in a gender neutral way), and offers, at best, only a presumption of legal parentage, and a rebuttable presumption at that, there is a concern that another state or country could decline to accept that form of parentage. If the couple moved to another state or country whose laws would not have allowed such a presumption, they could argue that they are not required to recognize that presumed parentage. Such an argument would be much harder to make with regard to an adoption decree.

We understand that confirmatory stepparent adoptions are uncomfortable, and cause negative feelings for same sex couples who conceive and parent together. They should not be necessary. However, we feel strongly that NC laws do not currently provide adequate protection, as written, for non-bio/birth parents, and this is the best protection we can offer same sex families at this time.