Ohio same-sex couples who share children may face special issues in child custody cases when they get divorced or otherwise end their relationships with each other. The parents might face issues about both child custody and child support that will need to be addressed.
While all states recognize same-sex marriage and civil unions, many courts do not have significant experience with handling child custody and child support cases that involve same-sex parents. They must make decisions about the rights of the biological and non-biological parents, adoptive parents, surrogates, and others who may be involved. Non-biological parents might want to consider adoption to preserve their rights to continuing ongoing relationships with their children if their marriages or civil unions do not last.
Same-sex parents who have custody agreements from other states might have to contend with courts being unwilling to accept the agreements. While courts should enforce custody orders from outside of the states, some are reluctant to do so when the orders place children with non-biological parents. Courts also must contend with cases involving same-sex parents when the non-biological parents do not adopt the children for child support purposes. The courts might consider the intent of both parents when determining whether to order child support from the non-biological parents from factors such as whether the parents held the child out to be their own, whether the parents attended the birth and birthing classes, and other factors.
People who are involved in child custody disputes after ending same-sex relationships might benefit from consulting with experienced family law attorneys who might provide some guidance about the local courts and help their clients to navigate through the system. In some cases, the attorneys may be able to negotiate parenting and child support plans that protect the rights of their clients. In other cases, the attorneys might litigate the disputed issues.