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Why should I consider executing a parenting agreement?

When unmarried same-sex couples in Minnesota decide to have or adopt a child together, there are some steps they may want to consider taking before welcoming the child into their family. One of these steps is executing a parenting agreement. This can be especially useful should one partner be the child’s biological parent or if both partners break up later down the road.

A parenting agreement acknowledges that while one partner may be the child’s biological parent, both partners consider themselves to be the child’s parents. In a parenting agreement, both partners can state they understand the rights and responsibilities that come with raising a child. Finally, the parenting agreement should include a provision that both partners want to continue parenting the child, even if they break up. Parenting agreements can even cover financial issues that arise when parenting a child. Parenting agreements can also include visitation rights for the second parent.

If an unmarried same-sex couple with a child ends their relationship, they should both still try to honor the parenting agreement. It can help to resolve any differences they may have with one another in this endeavor out-of-court. Through a negotiated settlement, the parties have a greater say in the outcome of the process. This cannot be said if their disagreements go to court. State law varies greatly regarding unmarried same-sex couples and custody and visitation rights, and there is no guarantee such cases will end in the result the partners would have wanted if they are made by a judge.

Same-sex partners who wish to have a child together, through surrogacy, a sperm donor or adoption have considerations to make, particularly if they do not plan to marry. Not every same-sex couple will choose marriage, and that is okay. However, if they plan on being parents, a parenting agreement can protect their rights and benefit the best interests of the child should their relationship come to an end.