Child custody matters are challenging for all couples who are ending a relationship. Same-sex couples have some circumstances to think about that might not be present in other custody cases. Finding out what issues you might face can benefit you greatly.
In opposite-sex custody cases, parents are likely the biological or adoptive ones for the child. This isn’t the case with a same-sex couple. However, both adults probably raised the children together. Some argue that both parents have the right to continue to raise the children, but others think that the non-biological or non-adoptive parent doesn’t need any additional rights.
Following the paper trail
Taking a look at documentation related to the children can provide a clue of how these cases might go. One thing that matters is which adult is named on the birth certificate or adoption paperwork. Only one of the parents may be named, so you might assume that this person will have full legal rights to the child, but this may not be valid.
Courts also consider who provides care for the child. This is one of the more challenging aspects of these cases because it might be evenly split. Things like who bathes the child and goes to school functions, and similar activities may matter.
When the children were born, if one partner is a biological parent, this can also matter. If the couple was married at the time of the birth, both of them would likely be recognized as the legal parents. This would put them on the same page as opposite-sex couples undergoing the same battle.
Best interests of the child
The court must also consider what is in the child’s best interests. This is another matter that can prove challenging because it is highly subjective. For people who are in a battle to see the children they raised, it’s crucial to prove that continuing the relationship is beneficial to the child.
If you are the non-biological or non-adoptive parent to the children you helped raise, you have three legal options. First, you can opt to do nothing and not have contact with the children. Second, you can fight to have custody of the child. Third, you can try to obtain visitation. An attorney who handles LGBTQ custody battles can help you evaluate these options so you can determine which is most appropriate for your case.