5.5.2010

Law Firms in Reno Facilitate One of Nevada’s First Registered Domestic Partnership Adoptions of a Minor Child


Recently, our Reno law firm successfully facilitated one of Nevada’s first Registered Domestic Partnership adoption, since the enactment of the Nevada Registered Domestic Partnership Act, NRS Chapter 122A.

Nevada’s Registered Domestic Partnership Act grants domestic partners “the same rights, protections and benefits,” and subjects them to “the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under law… as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.” NRS 122A.200(1)(a).

With this legal recognition, registered domestic partners are able to adopt their partner’s children as if the partners were spouses. Consequently, the process by which one partner can adopt the other’s children is simplified. For example, the consent requirement set forth in NRS 127.043 is inapplicable when “the spouse of a petitioner is related to the child within the third degree of consanguinity.” NRS 127.043(2). Likewise, the investigation and affidavit filing mandates enumerated in NRS 127.120 and 127.127 are also rendered inapplicable under the same circumstances.

However, one issue that remains potentially problematic even in light of the enactment of NRS Chapter 122A is artificial insemination. In the instance where the child sought to be adopted by one domestic partner was conceived by the other domestic partner via artificial insemination, the question arises as to whether the petitioning domestic partner must first obtain the natural father’s consent to the adoption (which is unlikely considering his unidentified status), or whether the partner must move to terminate the unidentified donor’s parental rights prior to petitioning for adoption.

Nevada does not have any statutes or caselaw addressing an unidentified donor’s rights to a child conceived from his donation. Unlike Nevada, California appears to be more advanced in the law regarding artificial insemination issues, as evidenced by California Family Code §7613(b). §7613(b) provides, “The donor of semen provided to a licensed physician and surgeon or to a licensed sperm bank for use in artificial insemination… of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated in law as if he were not the natural father thereby conceived.” (Emphasis added.)

Due to the lack of authority on artificial insemination in Nevada, coupled with Nevada’s new Registered Domestic Partnership Act, it will be interesting to see whether courts will make the recently simplified adoption process for domestic partners a bit more time consuming by requiring a petitioning partner to conduct the seemingly arbitrary exercise of moving to terminate an unidentified donor’s parental rights prior to filing a petitioning for adoption.

Our Reno law firm, RSSB Law, among other law firms in Reno, have been active in many landmark decisions. To speak to one of our Reno lawyers call us today. 775.329.3151.

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