Same-sex couples are gaining many legal protections in the U.S., including the right to marry. Still, LGBT couples often face legal and societal hurdles that heterosexual couples do not.
In Alaska, same-sex couples may encounter unique family law issues, especially regarding parenthood and domestic partnerships. LGBT couples may need help understanding family law and how statutes apply to them. Here are some common LGBT family law issues.
Same-sex couples cannot biologically have children together. They rely on other paths to parenthood.
Reproductive assistance technology
Reproductive medical advances make having children possible in many ways, such as in vitro fertilization and frozen embryo transfer. However, many couples find it difficult to navigate the laws surrounding new innovations.
Alaska is free of “religious exemption” laws which permit agencies to deny adoption to LGBT couples. However, the state is also void of laws forbidding such action. Therefore, same-sex couples may encounter resistance when trying to adopt. Married couples or those in a legal domestic partnership may pursue stepparent adoption.
Alaska has no laws barring foster care agencies from discriminating against same-sex couples. Even when experiencing a shortage of foster parents, agencies may refuse to place a foster child with an LGBT couple.
Not all couples decide that marriage is for them. Forming a domestic partnership is a viable option. Domestic partnership agreements often spell out financial arrangements and offer other advantages. For example, insurance policies may cover a domestic partner the same way they would a spouse. Similarly, employers may extend benefits such as health insurance and bereavement.
Drafting a domestic partnership agreement can be complex. Couples entering such a partnership should seek legal advice.