Gestational Surrogacy and Carrier Information
Surrogacy law is a growing and evolving area with complex legal issues. If you are considering a surrogacy, you need qualified legal counsel. We can protect your rights, and anticipate and address potential problems by drafting Surrogacy Agreements, Gestational Carrier Agreements, and reviewing Agreements drafted by other attorneys on behalf of a Carrier/Surrogate.
We cannot represent both parties to an Agreement and cannot meet with or advise both Carrier/Surrogate and Intended Parents who will be parties to the same Agreement. We can make the process as seamless as possible by advising you regarding the law and provide other practical advice based on our experience in family law.
In every surrogacy arrangement, each party should have separate legal representation because the Carrier/Surrogate and the Intended Parents have very different perspectives which must be taken into account by the attorney representing each party. Most commonly the attorney for the Intended Parents will prepare the Agreement according to the specific facts of the case while the attorney for the Carrier/Surrogate reviews the Agreement with her and her husband/partner and answers questions regarding the legal and financial process.
What is Surrogacy?
Surrogacy is most commonly a paid legal arrangement in which a woman agrees to become pregnant, by a means of assisted reproductive technologies for the purpose of giving birth to the child of another person or couple (Intended Parents). There are two types of surrogacy. The first is gestational, in which a woman becomes pregnant by means of an embryo transfer, and therefore does not have a genetic link to the child. The embryo is created by in-vitro fertilization, using eggs and sperm from the Intended Parents or donors on their behalf. This is the most common and contemporary form of surrogacy.
A less frequently used method of surrogacy involves the artificial insemination of a woman who contracts to be a traditional surrogate. These are handled similarly to an adoption. Because the surrogate is also a genetic parent, there are additional significant legal and emotional ramifications, and there is more risk attached to this type of surrogacy. While it is appropriate in some circumstances, it should be approached with a great deal of care.
Why Are Surrogacy Agreements and Gestational Carrier Agreements Necessary?
An Agreement is extremely important in the event of any dispute between the Carrier/Surrogate and the Intended Parents regarding the child or children conceived. It demonstrates as clearly as possible what the parties intended regarding the child or children and who is has legal and financial responsibility for the child or children. Additionally, an Agreement should specify each party’s responsibilities, obligations, rights, and understandings in order to minimize misunderstandings. An Agreement sets forth the financial responsibilities of Intended Parents details how the financial obligations will be fulfilled. An Agreement establishes that Intended Parents are legally and financially responsible for the child regardless of his/her health. An Agreement typically also specifies that all parties to the Agreement are to be medically screened in order to protect the health of the Carrier/Surrogate and the child or children.
Other Legal Services We Can Provide –
In addition to the services specified above, we can help you with Petitions to obtain Birth Certificates, Paternity and Parentage Actions, Egg, Embryo or Sperm Donor Contracts, Adoptions, Guardianships and other contractual arrangements to protect your family including parenting contracts and partnership contracts.
LAW IN ALTERNATIVE RELATIONSHIPS
Legal Services For All Families
Families come in many different varieties and we are prepared to assist you with your family law needs, regardless of how you define family. Nevada law does not specifically provide protection for gay and lesbian couples and your rights including child custody, visitation, and property may not be protected without taking steps to make your intentions clear in the event of a relationship break up, health crisis or death. As the variety of human relationships creating families grow, so does the scope of family law. Courts are often asked to decide novel issues that arise as a result of non-traditional relationships in effort to define rights and obligations. Setting out in writing what you and your partner intend can help you proceed through the Court process should you ever be unfortunate enough to end up fighting about your children or property.
We can help you with adoptions, guardianships and other contractual arrangements to protect your family including Parenting Agreements and Partnership Agreements. You should also ensure that you have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions so that if you are incapacitated, the person you designate can make health care decisions for you.
What is a Single Parent Adoption?
A single parent adoption is where an individual adopts a child, rather than a couple adopting a child. A single parent adoption is an option even if there are other adults living with the adoptive parent. It is very common for gay and lesbian people to adopt children as individuals. The downside to this is that the other member of the couple has no legally recognized rights as a parent to the adopted child. This lack of rights can have an impact on employee benefits such as health insurance. It could also cause custody problems if the couple splits up. Nevada law does not currently allow two adults of the same gender to adopt a child. Therefore, Parenting Agreements can make your expectations clear in the event your relationship ends and there are issues regarding custody, support, and visitation. A Parenting Agreement will specify that you both consider yourself parents of your child with all of the rights and obligations that accompany parenthood. The Agreement should specify that you each intend for the parent child relationship to continue even if the relationship between the parents ends.
Does the Court Recognize Parenting Agreements?
This is an unsettled area of law and Courts are ambivalent when it comes to same-sex partners continuing a parenting relationship with a non-biological child. While it often makes sense to work out an agreement on your own or hire a mediator to negotiate a settlement, you may find yourself in Court. In Nevada, NRS 125C.050 provides an adult who has resided with a child an ability to seek visitation with the child if the adult and child have developed a meaningful relationship. In the event of a contested visitation matter, a Parenting Agreement would be helpful evidence for the parent seeking visitation pursuant to this provision of Nevada law.
What Is A Partnership Agreement?
Partnership Agreements can be complex. The presence of significant assets, children, and ex-spouses complicate what could be a straightforward contract. We make sure that Partnership Agreements are complete and address all matters that may arise during the life of the Agreement. A Partnership Agreement should resolve questions related to hospital access during illness, powers of attorney and healthcare directives, division of property in the event of break up, management of assets and property during the relationship, and health care benefits.
The real test of a Partnership Agreement is when the Agreement is dissolved. A well-crafted Agreement will define what happens in the event of dissolution in order to minimize conflict and financial and emotional expense at the end of a relationship. If you are in a long-term relationship it may make sense to formalize your relationship to protect yourself and your partner.