Over the past few years, custody disputes involving same-sex couples have become commonplace. Because of this, parental sexual orientation is now less of an influential factor when determining custody as it may have been years ago. However, some states are still facing barriers regarding custody and sexual orientation, and it can still become a determining factor for certain judges in states that consider it. Unfortunately, because of their sexual orientation, some parents are denied custody of their children every single year. Many of the judges who make these disheartening decisions forget a very important factor: Research has shown that gay and lesbian individuals are just as effective in parenting as heterosexual individuals.
Because of these issues with the courts, many custody attorneys now urge same-sex divorcees to consider settling custody battles outside of court. This includes making decisions about legal custody, physical custody, visitation, and child support. There are many different ways in which custody will be considered, which fall upon whether or not you are the legal parents of the child.
When Both Parents Are Legal Parents
Sometimes, both partners are considered to be the legal parents of a child. This happens if a child was born into a marriage or domestic partnership, the nonbiological parent adopted the child, or the two jointly adopted the child. When there are legal rights before both parents, child disputes will be handled the same way as with a straight divorce. The judge will consider many different factors and come to a conclusion based on the best interests of the child.
When Only One Parent is a Legal Parent
However, things are usually different when only one parent is the legal parent. Usually, second parents have no rights whatsoever depending on the state and will not be able to seek legal custody. Courts in some states, however, have allowed these parents to have rights based on their established relationships.
When you are going through a same-sex divorce involving children, some aspects will be especially difficult. Because of this, you should seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that you understand all of the laws pertaining to these cases. Sometimes you may feel as if the law is against you just because you were involved in a same-sex relationship and it is important to understand your rights.