Mothering Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are currently located in Knoxville, TN. It's a decently liberal area and people have generally been very good to us. However, we had a bit of a scare recently when a highly recommended ob we contacted very dismissively told us that no doctors in the area would work with a same sex couple. She was wrong (glad we kept looking) but it was a bit of a reality check and we'd like to do what we can to ensure my wife's status as a parent is in good standing when we have a baby.

I've read a little about co-parenting agreements and we're planning on drafting one up before I get pregnant, so we'll have evidence that my wife was the intended parent from the beginning. We'll be inseminating at a doctor's office and using anonymous sperm to ensure no claims of custody can be made by/on behalf of the donor. We're also not planning on being in Tennessee for more than a few months after the baby is born. Still, we live in a pretty conservative state and if anything should happen to me in those few months I would want to make sure my wife had the best possible chance.

My questions are- what kind of legal action, if any, can we take to add her on as a second parent in this area? Someone I asked mentioned waiting for the results of the court case, but I don't think that a recognition of our marriage is an automatic recognition of parenting status?

Also, if there is nothing we can really do here, is it possible to add her as a parent in another state when we move even if the baby is born here?

Any advice you can give is greatly appreciated.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,770 Posts
:w @Mosquito_Chaser! Since Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriage and does not explicitly allow second parent adoption, you will need to consult with a lawyer to draw up a co-parenting agreement and/or other documents. You should find someone who works with LGBT people and is familiar with how things work in your state. I included some links below. If the Supreme Court decides in your favor in June, you will have the right to marry. That typically comes with the ability to put both of your names on the birth certificate. If same-sex marriage is legal all over the US, then that will probably be enough to secure your partner's rights. If we lose, you should do a second parent adoption as soon as you can. If you can't do it in TN, you should be able to do it if you move to another state that does allow it. In the meantime, you may want to do a will and a power of attorney for medical purposes along with the co-parenting agreement. Seeing a lawyer would be your best bet considering the laws in your state. Good luck figuring this all out and Good Luck getting pregnant!

Here is some info from HRC.
Here is some info from NCLR.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info and the links! This whole thing is a little nerve-racking, but we really don't want to wait until my career is even more intense. My only remaining question is- you said we'll have the right to marry if the courts decide in our favor, but we were legally married in Massachusetts- I assume this means the marriage will be recognized here if the decision is positive?

And thanks for the welcome! I've been looking for a decent queer parenting/pregnancy forum and so far I'm liking this one quite a bit.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,770 Posts
Yes, if you were married somewhere else and it becomes legal in your state, it will be recognized. We got married in Massachusetts while it was not legal in California, and our son was born the day the Supreme Court overturned Prop 8. He had great timing! We haven't gotten around to doing the second parent adoption yet, but we are both on the birth certificate. We are from Ohio, so we want to be safe when we travel home. With any luck, the laws will change this month and we won't have to worry about it.

I'm glad you found us! :grin:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
We live in Atlanta, where there are only three counties that are the only places you should even bother to try, according to several other queer mama friends. Their advice for us was if we didn't already live in one of those counties (fortunately we do), then to "move" to one of those counties for the summer so you would be a resident (as in, keep your current home but also rent a month-to-month for a little while). Complicated and expensive, I know, but I know a few people who have done it. I don't know what it's like in TN specifically but y'all have the same kind of make-up--lots and lots of conservatism peppered with liberal hotspots. Maybe a similar system is in place there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow. That is definitely not something we would do. Luckily we live in a pretty liberal area of the state. But I'm also in graduate school so, if the situation were really bad, I think we would probably just wait until the inevitable move to another school. I'm sorry for your friends who've had to do that, though. I don't think we could even afford it.

That said, my RE actually gave us some advice. She said there's only one judge in the state that will grant a second parent adoption and he's hard to get a hold of and about to retire. BUT she also said that I can list my wife as a legal guardian to keep her safe until we move, which works for us. We just want to make sure that if something happens to me the baby isn't going to be shipped off to Washington state where my mom is or, God forbid, dropped off with my drunk fool of a dad while everything gets sorted out.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top