My girlfriend has 2 children already and we (we are both female) plan to have 2 more- she will carry one and I will carry the other- through the use of sperm donors that will not be on the birth certificate and will not have any legal rights to the children. She is the only one listed on their birth certificates currently. What are the laws in Wisconsin for me to adopt her existing children as well as having us both on the children we will be having's birth certificates? Also would we be able to do all of this without being legally married or would that need to come first? Thank you!
I am going to take a crack at answering your question, but admittedly, it is a question of first impression. As you know same sex marriages are now legally recognized throughout the United States. You indicate you are not legally married. I don't believe you can do a step-parent adoption and terminate the parental rights of the biological father, unless you were legally married, and she had grounds either voluntarily or involuntarily to terminate the parental rights of the father, and I believe most adoption agencies would require for both of you to be married for at least a couple of years or more, before being considered suitable for adoption of her children. The law hasn't kept pace with the cent Supreme Court ruling on making same sex marriages legal, so I don't look at your situation any differently than if it was a heterosexual relationship and a boyfriend was asking the same question about adopting his girlfriend's children. On the second issue, I can only answer it in terms of the context of the current law. If you are not legally married, any child born out of wedlock, there would have to be a paternity determination as to who is the biological father. Putting the names on the birth certificates in my opinion, under WI law, would have no legal effect. You will have sole legal rights to the child you are carrying, once born, with her having no legal rights towards that child, and the same for the child she is carrying. She will have sole legal custody of that child and you would have no legal rights to that child. If you two marry each other, the legalities completely change, in my opinion, as the law presumes that any child born during the marriage is a marital child, and presumptively, under WI law, the husband would be presumed to be the father of the child. Other attorneys responding may have a different opinion. As stated, your question for me , is one of first impression and highly unique to your current relationship.
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