The Basics of a Child Custody and Visitation Rights in a Same-sex Divorce

child custody legal concept

When couples are unable to stay in a healthy relationship, the decision of separating always comes up. If you and your partner decide to file for divorce, it is not just a matter of dividing your assets. If you have kids involved, this makes it a more complicated matter. But what if the divorce involves an LGBT family?

For couples of the same sex, child custody laws differ from regular couples. The reason is that oftentimes, there is only a single blood relation present. If you and your spouse want custody over the kids, it is a must that you work with competent Santa Fe family law attorneys. You make the most of out the divorce and increase your chances of receiving child custody.

If you have already made the decision to divorce and you want to receive child custody, it pays to know the basics of same-sex child custody laws.

When only one parent is a legal parent

In most states, if you are not the legal parent of your spouse’s children, then you have no legal rights over the children. This means that you cannot seek visitation rights or child custody rights over your partner’s children. It is only in rare cases wherein the non-parent spouse will have any financial obligation over their partner’s kids. However, there are also cases when some courts will recognize the relationship established between the non-parent and their partner’s children.

Child hugging her father

When both have legal rights

If you and your spouse both have equal parental rights, then the court will treat the case as a regular battle for child custody. This happens if you and your partner both adopted your kids, your kids were born into the marriage, the non-adoptive parent legally adopted the child, or if they established enough parental action to consider them as adoptive parents. The general rules of child custody will be applied.

When the non-parents want visitation rights

There is nothing that can override a legal parent’s rights. However, as a second parent who has helped raise their partner’s children, you can still ask for visitation rights. However, some factors can affect the court’s decision. For instance, the state you live in allows partial custody or visitation rights for non-parents. Check the procedures you need to take so that you can start filling the case. Your family lawyer can help you with this.

When you are the legal parent and want to prevent your ex from having any custodial or visitation rights

As the sole legal parent of your children, you have the kind of rights that your ex fails to have. This is despite their established relationship with your children. If you believe that they are not a good influence on your children or poses as a threat to them, then your lawyer can help you fight for the case. Take note that the court will make a decision based on your children’s best interest.

A couple’s separation becomes even more complicated when kids are involved. This makes it an even more difficult process with same-sex marriage. Know your rights and what you can get out of the divorce. Seek the expertise of a family law attorney; they can help you reach your child custody or visitation rights goal.

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