On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court eliminate all state bans on same-sex marriage and legalized it in all 50 states. This was an important step forward for couples. However, with legal marriage comes the possibility of divorce and all the complications it causes.
If a same-sex couple is married and decided to expand their family with children, they will have somewhat unique concerns when topics of child custody are being discussed. Getting to know some of the most common issues that may impact a same-sex divorce with children involved can help you create a more viable legal strategy.
There are many situations where, in a same-sex marriage, only one of the parents has a true biological connection to the child or the children. This is often the case with blended family situations too. If there is no biological connection to the child, the parent without this connection may not have the legal right to seek any type of shared custody.
While there are tactics including in vitro fertilization, the use of a surrogate or artificial insemination to carry a child for a couple or individual, these options for creating a family often present more unusual challenges during a divorce. This is specifically the case if neither of the parents has a genetic relationship with the child. In this situation, the courts must consider the legal relationship that is present. Only the parent that has legally adopted the child will be able to claim custody when the divorce goes to court.
Regardless of if one parent had a biological child from a prior relationship or if they had adopted a child before getting married, it is possible for the person they choose to marry to formalize the relationship they have with the child through adoption. In many cases, this is a process that is similar to a stepparent adopting a child in a heterosexual marriage.
As long as there is no one else that has any parental rights to the child or if the other parent is willing to waive the parental rights and responsibilities, it is possible for an unrelated spouse of the child’s parent with a legal or biological connection to a child to make their relationship to the child official. When adoption is sought in this manner, it may help to provide new parent rights to custody or visitation. While this is true, it is also going to create an obligation for this individual to pay child support.
If your ex never adopted your child or children, or if they never made the parental relationship official, they don’t have the right to seek custody. In many situations, this is beneficial if you are trying to move on with your life. However, it may also mean that if you need help financially, you have no legal right to seek child custody from the unrelated parent.
If you are facing a same-sex divorce and there are children involved, one of the best things you can do is to hire an experienced family law attorney. For more information, contact Lewert Law, LLC by calling (561) 544-6861.
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