Around 16 percent of same-sex couples who live in the same household are raising children together, according to The Williams Institute. In addition, adoption by same-sex couples has nearly doubled since the early 2000s. Many of these couples face difficult circumstances when their relationships fall apart or their marriages end in divorce. In these cases, child custody disputes can be complicated, highly emotional events that often leave one or both parties unhappy when the final decision is made by a judge. These situations can particularly complex when one parent is the biological parent of the child and the other is not.
When the Child Is Adopted, and Both Spouses Are Legal Parents
When a same-sex couple adopts a child together, and each spouse is a legal parent, decisions about child custody will be resolved in the same manner as if both parents were biological parents. If the couple cannot come to an agreement out of court, a judge will make a decision in favor of the child’s best interests. Deciding factors include the parenting abilities of each party, the emotional bond that each parent has with the child, the child’s preference if they are old enough, the financial ability of each parent to provide for the child, the work schedule and career demands of each parent, and much more.
What if Only One Spouse Is a Legal Parent?
In some same-sex relationships, only one spouse or partner may be the legal parent for a variety of reasons. In these cases, it can be difficult for the other parent to receive any custody or visitation rights. A spouse who is not a child’s legal parent may need to prove their relationship with the child and demonstrate their intent to raise the child to the court.
When or Both Parties Are the Biological Parent of the Child
In some same-sex marriages and relationships, one spouse has a biological child or multiple children from a previous marriage that they bring into the relationship. Their same-sex partner may become a legal guardian of the child or children, or they may adopt a child as a step-parent. While a biological parent will often retain the majority of the parenting time in these cases, the other parent will have the right to share in decision-making responsibility and parenting time.
If one parent’s sperm or one parent’s fertilized egg is used to create the child during the relationship with their spouse, things may become less straightforward. This is particularly true if in-vitro fertilization is used, and the fertilized egg of Spouse A is implanted into the uterus of Spouse B. In these cases, it is important to receive assistance from a skilled attorney who can help ensure that parental rights are protected.
A DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer Can Help
For same-sex partners who are going through a divorce or breakup, it is important to work closely with an experienced attorney who can ensure that you will be able to maintain a relationship with your children. Call the dedicated Wheaton family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.