Articles Tagged with “adoption attorney”

nevada-43769_960_720-215x300Nevada recently passed a new law that significantly improves surrogacy and adoption laws in the state. First, it gender neutralizes all adoption and assisted reproductive technology statutes. The law, effective July 1, 2017, will now refer to an “acknowledgment of paternity” as an “acknowledgment of parentage.” This strips away the old language and allows the law to recognize the variety of family types and structures that exist today. Nevada attorney Kimberly Mae Surratt, who helped get these laws passed, commented, “we gender neutralized every single statute in the State of Nevada and it was done with bipartisan support.” The changes in adoption laws include that petitioners to an adoption don’t have to live in the state of Nevada to adopt in the Nevada, which used to only allow non-residents petitioners to adopt if the child was in custody of an agency which provided child welfare services.

This new statue also expands the ability to obtain a parentage order in the state. In surrogacy arrangements, parentage orders can now be obtained in these situations: the child was born in Nevada or is anticipated to be born in Nevada; the Intended Parents reside in Nevada or resided there when the contract was executed; the Gestational Carrier resides in Nevada; the contract was executed in Nevada; and medical procedures were performed in Nevada. This long list of ways to obtain a parentage order largely facilitates the surrogacy process for all parties involved. Nevada is one of few states that have recently made large leaps in dispensing with old laws that address family building; replacing them with much more progressive ones.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients in all areas of family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy, and other areas of reproductive law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

ME_23_00_sm-150x150Earlier this year, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld the Rockland District Court’s decision that found a de facto parentage relationship between Jessica Lisio’s two biological children and her transgender domestic partner, Tammy Thorndike. Lisio and Thorndike, who identifies as male, began a relationship and decided to have a child together. In 2009, Lisio and Thorndike registered as domestic partners and later Lisio gave birth to their daughter. Their relationship began to fall apart a few months later, but Thorndike and Lisio maintained their existing parental roles. Thorndike finally moved out and two years later, filed a complaint for a determination of paternity and parental rights and responsibilities, which Lisio opposed, arguing that Thorndike had no parental rights. The Court found that “Thorndike undertook a permanent and responsible parental role in the children’s lives”, and that the children would be negatively affected if Thorndike was removed from their lives.

This case is a prime example of how the laws and court system are delayed and could have been avoided had the two parties taken proactive steps to establish their parental rights and responsibilities. In this case, a second-parent adoption lets the non-biological parent adopt a child without the biological parents losing their rights. Also, if the relationship ends, it still allows the adoptive parent to have custody and visitation rights. It’s important to keep in mind that Indiana has become one of a handful of states that now puts both biological and non-biological married same-sex parents on the birth certificate. Therefore, a second-parent adoption is not always necessary in this scenario. Meet with an experienced adoption and reproductive law attorney to learn more about when a second-parent adoption may be required.

In the many states that don’t recognize second-parent adoption, there is the option of a co-parenting agreement which lays out the intentions of the parents regarding the care of the children. This will help protect the intent of the non-biological parent toward the care of the child in the event that the relationship ends. This decision also strengthens the case for establishment of parentage in non-biological parents that use donor egg, which can sometimes arise in a gestational surrogacy. Many states don’t have clear laws on whether parentage can be established using donor egg, so taking intent into consideration fortifies the argument for establishment of legal parentage in non-biological parents.

Spain
Last month, the Supreme Court of Spain issued a landmark ruling that recognizes the right to paid maternity leave for parents of children born through surrogacy. Although gestational surrogacy is illegal in Spain, the Court held that the need to take care of children outweighs any legal barriers set forth by Spain’s surrogacy ban. The decision also extends various rights to mothers of children born through surrogacy, such as a reduced workday for nursing mothers and the right to take one year of unpaid leave after the maternity leave. Spaniards who seek to build their family through surrogacy must go abroad, and two such scenarios, one involving a surrogacy arrangement in the United States and the other in India, set this case in motion.  In October, Spain’s congress also voted to equalize paternity and maternity leave, awarding fathers the same sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave that mothers receive.

The decision comes at a time when the issue of maternity benefits is in the spotlight in the United States.  A New Jersey woman is suing her former employer, Verizon Network Solutions, for denying her paid maternity leave when she had children through surrogacy in 2013. Various arguments exist for both sides of the issue. For example, some posit that since mothers of children born to a gestational surrogate did not give birth, they do not need time to recover physically. This argument is often used to justify the denial of extended paternity leave for fathers. On the other hand, proponents of maternity benefits for mothers of children born through surrogacy contend that a new mom needs time to bond with the baby, especially when she did not carry the child.

Although the Verizon lawsuit is one of the first of its kind (there was a federal lawsuit to claim benefits for paid leave by a woman who had children through surrogacy in 2011, but the case was ultimately dismissed), this issue is likely to become more prevalent as gestational surrogacy continues to grow as a family-building option. Stay tuned to our blog for more discussions on emerging reproductive law issues.

Workplace
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recently released its annual “100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces” list. The Foundation has compiled a yearly list of workplaces that offer the best policies for employees growing their families through adoption since 2007. The criteria involve benefits such as financial assistance and paid leave for adoptive families. Employers submit applications and complete surveys, and the Foundation analyzes their data to create the list. The highest amount of financial reimbursement offered by this year’s applicants was $25,000.00, and the longest duration of paid leave was eighteen weeks. The average amount of financial assistance employers offered was $8,000.00, and the average duration of paid leave was five weeks.

Ferring Pharmaceuticals topped the 2016 list, with adoption policies that include reimbursement of up to $25,000.00 in adoption expenses, up to five and a half weeks of paid leave, and adoption counseling resources.  The rest of the top ten is comprised of:

  1. Citizens Bank ($23,460.00 in reimbursement of adoption expenses and 1 week of paid leave);

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Michele Jackson, Wayne DeVeydt, and Family to be Honored at Donaldson Adoption Institute’s Taste of Spring Event

Carmel, IN – May 3, 2016 – Michele Jackson, her husband, Wayne DeVeydt, and their family will be honored as the inaugural Modern Family Award recipients at the Donaldson Adoption Institute (“DAI”)’s Taste of Spring 2016 event on May 5, 2016 in New York, NY. The Modern Family Award is presented to a family that reflects the “changing landscape of the American family” through adoption, and exhibits the DAI’s core values of “openness, understanding, and respect.”

MJ NCFA Advocacy Day.jpgAs National Adoption Month wraps up, we wanted to share a photo of attorney Michele Jackson and Congresswoman Susan Brooks taken this summer at the National Council for Adoption’s Advocacy Day. Ms. Jackson spent the day on Capitol Hill meeting with several members of Congress to promote adoption and advocate for the adoption community.

The attorneys of Harden Jackson Law are devoted to servicing clients throughout the Indianapolis area and the state of Indiana in all areas family law, including divorce, custody, child support, property division, paternity, post-divorce modifications, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, simple wills, adoption, surrogacy and other areas of assisted reproductive technology law. For more information, please contact us at 317.569.0770 or www.hardenjacksonlaw.com.

Remember, these blog posts are not meant to be legal advice. You should consult an adoption attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation.

family.jpg In honor of National Adoption Month, our November blog posts are focused on adoption. Today’s blog explores open vs. closed adoptions. These terms are often thrown around in discussions surrounding adoption. Simply put, they refer to the agreed-upon relationship between the adoptive parents and the birth mother before and after the placement. However, the meanings of these terms are not as definitive as they may seem.

Open adoptions encompass a broad variety of relationships. While many people understand them as continuing a relationship between the child and the birth mother after the child has been adopted (through visits and communication, for example), this is only one example of open adoptions. The common thread in all open adoptions is that some kind of in-person contact exists between the adoptive family and the birth mother, and the parties share identifying information. However, the degree of openness between the parties is different in every adoption. Some families may elect to have regular visits with the birth mother, while others may choose to arrange phone calls during the holidays.

Closed adoptions involve limited contact. Identifying information is not shared between the parties, nor do relationships exist between the parties before and after the placement. Typically, the only information shared in closed adoptions includes medical records. However, in this age of electronic communication and social media, it may be nearly impossible to conceal the other party’s identifying information.

CARMEL, IN – September 24, 2013 -. Attorney Michele Jackson, who chairs the Harden Jackson Law’s Adoption and Reproductive Law Practice Group, was selected as a finalist for the 10th annual Indy’s Best and Brightest award ceremony created by Junior Achievement. The event will honor 100 of central Indiana’s most outstanding young professionals, age 40 and under, in 10 different industries.

The Best and Brightest event was created by Junior Achievement to recognize up and coming talent and the next generation of leaders in our community. Finalists in each category are judged on professional accomplishments, civic contributions, character and leadership qualities. The finalists to be honored at the event are listed below, as well as the website, www.indysbestandbrightest.org.

Michele Jackson chairs the firm’s Adoption and Reproductive Law Practice Group and focuses her practice in domestic and international adoptions as well as reproductive law matters. Jackson is also the founding Executive Director of MLJ Adoptions, Inc.