When two people love each other and are in a stable relationship, they very often want to share their happiness by having children. This is just as true for same-sex couples as it is for their heterosexual counterparts.

It is possible for one of the individuals in a same-sex relationship to become a biological parent. In the case of lesbian couples, one of the pair will usually have to visit a sperm bank or find a male donor. Gay men typically employ the services of a surrogate mother.

However, since only one of the parties can be a biological parent, it is a good idea for the other parent to formally adopt the child at birth. This ensures that both parties will enjoy legal parenting rights.

Another helpful step that same-sex parents can take is to formulate what is known as a parenting agreement. The agreement should stipulate that even if only one party is biologically related to the child, both parties are considered the child’s parents.

Further, the agreement should demonstrate that both parties are aware of their responsibilities and rights as parents. Finally, a clause should be included indicating that should the couple opt for a divorce or other form of separation, both parties wish to retain their parental rights with the child.

By going through the legal adoption process and crafting a parenting agreement, a non-biological parent in a same-sex relationship is better positioned to retain parental rights should the relationship be dissolved. However, when parents split, often custody and visitation issues can arise.

If you and your partner are interested in starting a family, you may want to contact an attorney who can help you with the adoption process and parenting agreement. If you are a parent whose relationship is ending, the attorney may be able to help you establish a custody or visitation agreement.