Legal Parentage in Vermont


The Vermont Parentage Act of 2018 provides equal protection for all children — but especially those born to LGBTQ and never-married parents or with the help of surrogates or assisted reproduction.


How You Can Establish Parentage

The method you should use to establish parentage in Vermont will depend on the circumstances of your child's birth or conception.

ESTABLISHING IT THROUGH
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

MARRIAGE:
You are automically recognized as the child's parents if you are married or joined through civil union:

  • When your child is born OR
  • Up to 300 days before your child is born if the marriage/union has ended
  1. You don’t need to do anything to establish parentage.
  2. The law considers both spouses to be the presumed parents.
  3. The hospital staff — or licensed midwife if your child is born at home — will add both parents' names to the birth certificate and send it to Vital Records.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:
If you are the child's genetic parents but are not married (to each other) when your child is born, you may acknowledge parentage. Read Chapter 3 of the VT Parentage Act to learn more.

If your child has a presumed parent who is not the genetic parent, they must file a Denial of Parentage at the same time you file your Acknowledgment of Parentage.

  1. Complete an Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP).
  2. Sign in front of a witness who is at least 18. It can't be either of you.
  3. File it with the Vermont Office of Vital Records.
  • If you complete it when your child is born:
    Hospital staff—or a licensed midwife that delivers your child at home—will add both names to the birth certificate and send your AOP to Vital Records.
  • If you complete it later on:
    Send it to Vital Records, 108 Cherry Street, PO Box 70, Burlington, VT  05402-0070. If your AOP is accepted, they’ll make sure both parents' names are on the birth certificate.

COURT ACTION:
Go to court to establish parentage if you:

  1. File an action in Superior Court - Family Division.
  2. The court will make a determination about parentage.
  3. The court may order genetic testing if necessary.

ASSISTED REPRODUCTION:
You must establish yourselves as the intended parents if your child will be conceived with the help of assisted reproduction technologies in a certified laboratory. Read Chapter 7 of the VT Parentage Act to learn more.

  1. Complete a Consent to Parentage From Assisted Reproduction.
  2. File it with the Office of Vital Records (see address on the form).
  3. This will establish you as the intended parents.
  4. You may also file an Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP) with Vital Records.

SURROGACY:
You must establish yourselves as the intended parents if your child will be born through a surrogate (called a gestational carrier in the law).  Read Chapter 8 of the VT Parentage Act to learn more.

  1. Hire an attorney.
  2. Enter into a Gestational Carrier Agreement with the surrogate before the child is conceived.
  3. This will establish you as the intended parents.
  4. You may also file an Acknowledgment of Parentage (AOP) with Vital Records.

Parentage forms


Learn more


Where to get help

The Parentage Act can be straightforward or complicated depending on the circumstances of your child's birth. If you need help, reach out!

  • If you want to establish parentage for the purpose of child support, contact the Office of Child Support at 1-800-786-3214 or OCSCSU@vermont.gov.
  • If you need advice but your situation does not involve child support, consult an attorney.

Why parentage is important

It's a legal parent-child relationship that gives:

  • Parents rights and responsibilities (e.g., custody, visitation and child support)
  • Children the right to get certain things from both parents (e.g., an inheritance, financial support, health care, life insurance and benefits such as Social Security)