Same-sex couples who have a child in North Carolina could previously only list one parent on the child’s birth certificate. This made administration of additional documentation for the child (Social Security card, school registrations, etc.) a challenge for both parents. Those guidelines have now changed.
Just seven months after North Carolina legalized same-sex marriage, officials at the North Carolina Department of Vital Records revised their forms and policies to reflect new guidelines for birth certificates issued to children of married same-sex couples.
The new guidelines provide:
A woman who gives birth while married to another woman has the legal power to name her spouse as a parent on the child’s birth certificate.
- Married female same-sex couples who had a child on or after October 10, 2014 may order an amended birth certificate naming both spouses as parents. The state is waiving the fee for amended birth certificates that meet these qualifications.
The new guidelines do not provide:
Legal parentage. Guardianships, adoptions, divorces/re-marriages and other legal proceedings that might occur after a birth certificate is issued can affect who is recognized as a legal parent. Birth certificates are not necessarily a way to identify a legal parent.
Reciprocity. Although North Carolina has updated their birth certificate guidelines for married same-sex couples to identify parents, other jurisdictions might not recognize this document.
Same provisions for unmarried couples. The new guidelines only apply to married same-sex couples who reside in North Carolina. Unmarried same-sex couples who jointly parent a child could explore adoption.
As laws addressing same-sex marriages and LGBT rights are changing more frequently, same-sex couples in North Carolina should review their estate plans regularly. Estate planning for same-sex couples in North Carolina can help ensure biological and non-biological children are provided for, provide couples ways to take advantage of tax breaks, and address the goals of both spouses.