adoption

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) has ruled that a person may establish herself as a child’s presumptive parent without the need for a biological relationship to the child. The same-sex partner of a woman who gave birth to two children conceived via artificial insemination during their committed, but non-marital, relationship is entitled to the presumption that she is a legal parent of the children.

The Story Behind Partanen v. Gallagher

Karen Partanen and Julie Gallagher were in a committed relationship for 12 years, but never married. In 2005, they decided to start a family with a “shared intention of both being parents of the resulting children.” Partanen tried artificial insemination, but was unable to become pregnant. In 2007, Gallagher conceived a child using assistive reproductive technology and gave birth to a baby girl. In 2012, Gallagher gave birth to a son. Partanen did not adopt the children and never signed an “acknowledgment of parentage” form. This form would have given her legal status as the children’s parent.… Keep reading

stuffed animal tigerIn my previous post on Adopting a Stepchild, I explained the steps to go through for an uncontested adoption. Many adoptions are very simple and straightforward. However, in situations where there are disagreements about what is best for a child or a parent’s rights are being terminated, the courts must become further involved.

The news media has been buzzing about an internal Memorandum reportedly sent from the Chief Judge of the Probate and Family Court, Angela Ordonez, on August 20, 2015 seeking review of all contested adoption cases in the court system. Specifically, the memorandum is said to require that all pending private adoption cases be reviewed to ensure that children at the center of those disputes have attorneys appointed to represent their interests. Pursuant to the case of Adoption of Meaghan, decided in 2012, children are entitled to counsel in contested adoption proceedings, even private adoptions.… Keep reading

family
One big happy family!

I am frequently asked by stepparents what is involved in adopting their spouse’s child. The process is often quite simple, and brings a sense of wholeness and belonging to the child and family.

How does this all work?

There are two instances where the adoption of a stepchild is considered uncontested and can move easily through the court system.… Keep reading

Breaking News in Family Law

Hi there,

Massachusetts has again revised its child support guidelines. The new guidelines will come into effect on August 1, 2013.

The new guidelines appear, among other things, to try to clarify how child support will be calculated in high income cases.  I will have an analysis of the guidelines up next week, when we have had a chance to really consider them.

In other news, the Supreme Court of the United States just issued an opinion in the Indian child adoption case. This seems eminently sensible in terms of the practical realities. However, I can’t help thinking this child will have been relentlessly bounced from parent to parent.

Also, I am eagerly awaiting the SCOTUS decisions on the gay marriage cases, due out tomorrow.  Stay tuned, and stay cool in this heat!

Best,

Nancy… Keep reading