Sunday, August 22, 2010

Nevada Birth Certificate will now reflect Same-Sex Parents!

With the passage of the domestic partnership law in the State of Nevada in 2009, it was only a matter of time before the Department of Vital Statistics amended its policy on birth certificates for children born into same-sex couple families.  In the past, the department would not permit two women or two men to be listed as parents on a child's birth certificate unless they produced a second parent adoption decree issued by a court.  After October 1, 2009, SB283 created a "presumption of parentage" for any child born during the domestic partnership.  As such, the department has thankfully changed its policy, and now will allow both partners to be listed on the birth certificate at the time of birth.

Any couple who registered as domestic partners with the State of Nevada prior to their child's birth, and the child was born after October 1, 2009,  can go down to the Health District on Shadow Lane in Las Vegas and ask for an  "Affidavit of Correction" form.  You will be permitted to place the non-biological parent's name on the birth certificate and a new certificate will be issued.  If you are currently expecting a child, make sure you contact the hospital where you plan to deliver and ask to speak with the social worker(s) who issue birth certificate documentation.  While a majority of the hospitals have been training their staff and changing their policies since October 2009 (i.e. local St. Rose hospitals have already issued birth certificates with both partners' names) you will need to make sure that your hospital has adequate notice that you intend to make such a request. 

I can tell you personally, when our son Evan was born at Summerlin Hospital in January of 2010, it was only a few months after the new law had gone into effect and the social worker was confused and did not know what to do when I asked to be listed on the birth certificate.   The worker told me she would check with her boss, but that she had not seen a new policy on the issue and did not think she was allowed to list me on the birth certificate as Evan's other mother.  Thus, we had to jump through the hoops and get an amended certificate, we are just thankful that the Department of Vital Statistics has revised its policy and made it possible for domestic partners to be listed as parents.

While a birth certificate permits either parent to register a child for school, obtain health insurance, etc., it is still necessary for a couple to get a formal second parent adoption to ensure they have the highest level of protection for their family.  As will be discussed in my next blog, only a Court Order will receive full faith and credit in another state.  So while a birth certificate provides adequate proof of parentage in your home state, if you travel or move, you will still need an adoption decree to ensure that another state will recognize the non-biological parent's rights to their children.