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The upcoming Supreme Court ruling and same-sex adoption

Many North Dakota same-sex couples, like others around the country, are awaiting the impending decision by the U.S. Supreme Court over whether to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Such legalization would indeed make life less complicated for same-sex parents. However, it would not necessarily solve all of their problems.

One official from the Family Equality Council cautions that "it doesn't come close to solving all of the legal and recognition issues that same-sex couples and their children face." In some states, including North Dakota, same-sex couples can still be prohibited from adopting or even fostering a child.

North Dakota state law does not explicitly prohibit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals or couples from adopting a child. However, it does allow state-funded child welfare agencies to deny LGBT couples the right to foster or adopt a child if they cite religious grounds for doing so. Similar laws are under consideration in additional states.

There's no doubt that a national legalization of same-sex marriage would help many families regarding things like veterans' and Social Security benefits and recognition of their status as parents. However, states can still use other methods to allow discrimination if their elected officials choose to do so.

Adoption can be a complicated, frustrating, long process for anyone. Same-sex couples often find it even more difficult.Whatever the justices' decision (expected any day now), North Dakota same-sex couples who want to open their home to a child who doesn't have a family may need to seek legal guidance to help them navigate any hurdles that they find in their way.

Source: New York Times, "Same-Sex Parents’ Rights May Be Unresolved After Justices’ Ruling," Tara Siegel Bernard, June 14, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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