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Parentage in New Hampshire



All children and families deserve to be legally recognized and protected, no matter how they are formed.

Update – July 2020: The Senate and the House voted to pass HB 1162. Call Governor Sununu at 603-271-2121 and ask him to sign HB1162 to expand access to the protections of adoption to all children.

Update – February 4, 2020: Staff Attorney Chris Erchull delivered testimony before the House Committee on Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs in Support of HB 1162.

Update – March 11, 2020: NH House voted to pass HB 1162. Due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Hampshire legislature is currently closed. We will continue to update when legislation can continue to move forward.

“House Bill 1162 is a straightforward solution to the current gap in two statutes, which will ensure that more children have legal relationships with their parents. In a recent decision, the New Hampshire Supreme Court drew attention to the anachronistic omission of unmarried couples from the adoption statute. HB 1162 fixes the problem highlighted by the court by allowing two co-parents to adopt a child jointly, without respect to their marital status.

The confirmatory adoption provision [provides] a means for a couple to obtain a court order or a confirmatory adoption where the child was conceived via assisted reproduction. Confirmatory adoption is recommended for any same-sex parent who is not the biological parent of the child, even if the parent is named on the birth certificate.”

Chris Erchull’s full testimony can be read here.

On December 2, 2019, the New Hampshire legislation introduced House Bill 1162, An Act Relative to Adoption and Parentage, which updates language in parentage law in favor of gender-neutral and inclusive terms. This bill expands the categories of individuals eligible to adopt and clarifies adoption and parenting laws for unmarried couples who share parenting responsibilities and for families formed through assisted reproduction.