Two married couples decide to have a child via artificial reproduction. One parent in each couple will carry and give birth to the child. The other parent has no biological relationship with the child.
One is an opposite-sex couple. Because they are married, they know that the father will automatically be considered the legal father. But the other couple is a lesbian couple. Leading up to the birth, the lesbian couple seeks out a lawyer and expresses concern regarding the nonbiological parent's legal status. Because both are women, they know their relationship to their child will be constantly questioned. How can they ensure that the nonbiological mother has the same legal rights as the child's birth mother?
Colorado law provides many different vehicles for establishing this legal status, but none offer the same sense of security that opposite-sex parents enjoy. An attorney may advise the same-sex couple that the best option to protect their family is for the nonbiological mother to adopt the child. However, the couple is anxious about the amount of money and time adoption requires. After a deep legal analysis, the attorney may advise that the nonbiological mother is already presumed to be the child's legal parent under the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA). The mothers may also find a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form ("VAP"), on which they can declare the second parent's status. But the couple may not be sure that the VAP can be used in their situation or that it will protect their parentage status in all circumstances.
To remedy this confusion, Colorado must do two things. First, Colorado should connect existing VAPs to a court decree, such as an adoption order. Second, Colorado should adapt the UPA and VAPs to specifically apply to the lesbian couple's situation. Mothers should be able to have secure legal relationships to their children without adopting their own child or hiring an attorney to interpret the language of the
Two Legal Mothers: Cementing Parental Rights for Lesbian Parents in Colorado,
U. Colo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/lawreview/vol91/iss4/6