Kurt M. Hughes, a partner with MURDOCH HUGHES & TWAROG Attorneys at Law, P.C., and a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, was recently a guest on Vermont Public Radio’s Vermont Edition, and has been testifying before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees regarding Vermont’s new parentage act, H.562 (now pending before the senate after passing the house 148 – 1) which he helped to author.
This legislation is a giant step forward for Vermont, responding to the changing landscape of family formation in the State today, and providing solutions for many of the problems that have repeatedly faced our family courts, the history of which have been reported in Vermont Supreme Court opinions over the last twenty years, including the notorious Miller-Jenkins case, and most recently the case of Sinnot v. Peck . The legislation will also bring Vermont into harmony with recently passed legislation in Maine and New Hampshire, while Massachusetts is hard at work on a similar bill.
For the first time, Vermonters who grow their families through assisted reproductive technologies will have a simple procedure to establish legal parentage of children born through sperm and egg donation and gestational surrogacy. The all-important parentage orders made available under Chapters 7 and 8 this bill will provide much needed legal stability for children born through assisted fertility procedures from the moment of birth.
This bill utilizes the best parts of the Maine Parentage Act, and the newly minted 2017 Uniform Parentage Act as its foundation. It was customized for Vermont’s needs by leading practitioners in the Vermont legal and medical communities who have had decades of experience in the field. Vermont’s parentage laws, were last updated more than thirty years ago.
This new legislation gives added legal security to so-called de facto parents, assisted fertility and surrogacy clients. Kurt also concentrates in the Family Law, Adoption Law and Assisted Reproductive Technology. He is the co-owner of Vermont Surrogacy Network, which matches gestational carriers with intended parents in the U.S. and internationally.