Saturday, 29 May 2010

Top 10 guide for lesbian partners being named on children's birth certificates in Queensland

1. Get legal advice before the child is conceived!

Once the child is conceived, too late! Same sex parenting can be a legal minefield about legal rights and responsibilities. Don't create a mess and then wonder what went wrong.

2. At the time of conception, you must live in a de facto relationship.

If you don't live together in a de facto relationship, the laws don't apply to you. The mother will be    presumed to be single. Overseas same sex marriages are not recognised in Australia. Being in a de facto relationship at any time during the pregnancy, or at the time of birth; but not conception, is too late.

3. The form of conception must be artificial.

If your partner had sex with the man, resulting in conception, the laws do not apply to you. The man is the father, both by genetics and law. IVF is not required. A turkey baster or syringe is sufficient.

4. Your partner should not be married.

There seem to be conflicting, or potentially conflicting rules if the mother of the child is married. It is quite possible that the mother might be married and in a de facto relationship with another woman eg the mother separated from her husband some years before, but never bothered to get divorced.

5. The father must not be shown on the birth certificate.

If he is, then you cannot have him removed from the birth certificate without a court order. Good luck!

6. The birth must have been in Queensland.

7. The birth can have been at anytime.

The change is retrospective: it can be anytime before, on or after 1 June, 2010.

8. You're shown as "parent" and your partner is shown as "mother" on the birth certificate.

9. Two's company, three's a crowd.

There is only allowance for up to two people to be recognised on the birth certificate: the mother; the mother and father, or mother and partner.

10. Both you and your partner fill out the form.

Lesbian co-parents will be recognised for the first time in Queensland law on their children's birth certificates, starting this Tuesday 1 June.

The changes are contained in the Surrogacy Act 2010 which was passed earlier this year, but does not take effect until Tuesday. That Act made changes to both the Status of Children Act 1978 (which governs presumptions about parentage of children) and the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2003, which (obviously) deals with the registration of births, deaths and marriages.

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