November 23, 2015

Child Custody Issues Still Present in Same-Sex Marriages and Divorces

Child Custody, Same Sex Marriage

Although same-sex marriages have now become legal in all 50 states, gaps still exist in how child custody issues are handled in same-sex marriages and divorces. This makes it crucial for same-sex couples to discuss and understand the potential issues they may face in the event of a divorce in Illinois. And, when going through one, they must work together and safeguard the best interests of their children so that they may have the best chance at long-term emotional and mental well-being.

Non-Biological Parent and Divorce

For children that were conceived using the biological elements of one parent, the law may become sticky in determining the rights of a non-biological parent. Although it should not be an issue, considering many heterosexual couples have only one biological parent due to in vitro fertilization and infertility issues, it is one that same-sex couples need to consider. One option is to go through the “co-parent” adoption process. This will ensure that both parents are deemed legal guardians and have equal rights when determining child custody in the event of a divorce.

Same-Sex Couple Adoption and Divorce

While it is expected that there will be an influx of approved adoptions for same-sex couples, in the past, couples have had to fight and make compromises in order to have their adoption approved. In fact, in many cases, the adoption may have only been approved for one parent. Again, this can create custody and child support issues in the event of a divorce. The co-parent adoption process may be helpful in sorting this issue out as well.

It should be noted that the courts seem to be working toward recognizing both parents when the child is adopted after marriage, and the laws are changing rapidly to better accommodate same-sex marriages. However, it is still advised that you speak to a family law attorney before assuming that both parents will be granted equal rights in the event of a divorce.

Child Support Issues for Same-Sex Couples

When both parents are not recognized as legal guardians of a child, the opportunity for child support is lost. This can be harmful to the parent awarded custody, as well as the child. When added to the mental and emotional welfare of a child, this fact encourages both parents to develop a plan and an agreement if divorce become an issue.

Need Help Sorting Out Custody Issues?

If you or someone you love is planning to go through a divorce and have custody issues — be they in a heterosexual or same-sex marriage — it is important to seek professional help. A DuPage County family law attorney can help you sort out the particulars, and can help provide mediation and representation when necessary. For your free initial consultation, call Mulyk Laho Law, LLC at 630-852-1100 today.