Parental Rights FAQs

Q: Explain the parental rights confirmation process.

The parental rights confirmation process will establish your rights as the legal parents and terminate the rights of your surrogate (and her husband, if she is married). The process generally begins once you are safely into the second trimester. After you formally retain our firm for this step in the process, we will draft and file pleadings for your case in the appropriate state court, and schedule a court hearing if required. The judges who review these types of cases are familiar with the subject matter and are generally on a first name basis with our attorneys. Generally only one of our attorneys is required to appear for the hearing and in most cases the parties will not be required to appear. Barring any extraordinary circumstances, a judgment is generally issued the same day as the hearing and certified copies of the judgment are generally available to you shortly thereafter.

Q: What happens if I elect not to go through the parental rights confirmation process?

Should you elect to bypass the parental rights confirmation process, then your surrogate (and her husband, if she is married) would be presumed to be the parents of the child as her and her husband's rights are not terminated, as they normally would be by the judgment that is issued. The state would not allow your names to be placed on the birth certificate and your parental rights would not be secured or established if you do not complete this process.

Q: Is a parental rights confirmation the same as an adoption?

While there are some similarities, the parental rights confirmation process is not an adoption. It generally does not require a home study or background check (which is required in an adoption) and is completed in a fraction of the time.

Q: Must we appear in court?

In most cases, the parties are not required to make an appearance in court. An attorney from our office will appear on your behalf and answer any questions from the court.

Q:Must an attorney represent my surrogate?

While most judges feel more comfortable issuing judgments in cases where all parties are represented by counsel, they may grant a judgment where the surrogate is not represented, but this is not recommended.

Q: Will our names go directly on the birth certificate?

In most states, the original birth certificate will reflect both parents’ names. Other states may allow the names of one parents to appear on the birth certificate; an amended birth certificate to allow both parents at a later date may also be possible. Please check with our office to discuss your specific situation. Reproductive Law Center has attorneys available nationwide to advise our clients.

Q: If we obtain a pre-birth judgment of our parental rights in a particular state, must our surrogate deliver our child within the same state?

The child must be born in the state in which the judgment was issued in order for the judgment to be recognized by that state's government agencies, hospitals, etc.

Q: What happens if the surrogate delivers our child while traveling in another state?

If a child is born in another state, then confirming your parental rights falls under the jurisdiction of the courts of that state. Because each state operates quite differently, we suggest that you contact us immediately if you believe there is a possibility that a delivery in another state may occur.

Q: How long does the parental establishment process take?

The parental establishment process can take anywhere from about two to three months depending on the state and county where your surrogate resides.

Q: Approximately how much will the parental establishment process cost?

While costs do vary from state to state, on average, the finalization process ranges between $3,000-5,000.

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All communications between Reproductive Law Center and our clients are secret and confidential by the law of attorney-client privilege, which is valid throughout the United States. To represent you, we must first have a written attorney-client agreement; then we can exchange confidential information freely.

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We accept referrals from assisted parents, from egg donor, embryo donor, and surrogacy agencies, from physicians, psychologists, and attorneys, and from other interested persons. Our law offices are fully equipped with highly trained paralegal and administrative staff to assist in serving our clients. We offer single-price, all-inclusive service packages or reasonable hourly fees. Your initial consultation is free.