Going through divorce can prove difficult for any couple. However, same-sex couples may face considerably more challenging issues as they work through their divorce proceedings, especially when it comes to child custody. As a same-sex parent, you likely had to jump through many hoops to become a parent in the first place. Therefore, you undoubtedly want to remain in your child’s or children’s lives even after your marriage comes to an end.
Unfortunately, state laws covering same-sex child custody often do not comprehensively grasp the sensitive nature of such an issue. As a result, a variety of factors could come into play when it comes to the court making custody decisions for same-sex couples.
When same-sex couples become parents, one out of a variety of methods may have been utilized. You may have adopted your child, used a surrogate, opted for egg or sperm donation, or the child may have resulted from a previous relationship. No matter the process in which the child became part of the family, certain factors of the process could affect child custody proceedings.
If the child was legally adopted by one parent but not the other, the court will likely award custody to the adoptive parent. Though you may have played a considerable role in the child’s life, without the proper paperwork, the court will likely not consider you a legal parent. As a result, you may not have a chance of obtaining custody or visitation.
If natural birth allowed your child to come into the world, the child has a biological connection to only one parent. Whether you or your spouse provided sperm to a surrogate or a sperm donation in conjunction with your or your spouse’s egg conceived the child, the parent with the corresponding biological connection has claim to the child in the eyes of the court. Therefore, if both parents did not sign the birth certificate or the non-biological parent did not formerly adopt the child, custody issues could arise.
Without a birth certificate signature, legal adoption or biological connection, same-sex parents do not have parental rights in the eyes of the law. As a result, parents could find themselves devastated when custody rulings prevent them from seeing their children. Therefore, same-sex parents may wish to take the proper steps to ensure their legal parental rights.
If legal issues remain a concern when it comes to same-sex divorce and child custody, you may want to speak with an experienced Ohio attorney. With such assistance, you may have a better chance to fight for your parental rights and understand your legal options.