Every relationship comes with the risk of ending in a breakup. Unfortunately, things can get rather complicated when kids are involved. Many LGTB couples in Ohio wonder if family law courts will treat them like everyone else in child custody cases. The short answer is, not entirely.
Although it has been five years since the Supreme Court mandated that all 50 states recognize gay marriage, many courts have little experience dealing with LGBT family law cases. In particular, many courts are reluctant to grant custody of a child to a non-biological parent over a biological parent.
LGBT couples and adoption
Some family law courts take the position that non-biological parents who don’t adopt their children are “non-parents” for purposes of custody and visitation orders. It’s important for non-biological LGBT parents to legally adopt any children in their family to establish a legal connection to them. That way, the parental relationship with the child should continue after a breakup.
To adopt a child, courts will consider the following factors:
- Consent of the biological parents
- Financial support of the child
- Emotional connection to the child
LGBT couples and child support
Courts generally presume that couples who agree to have children and plan to raise them together bear the responsibility to financially support those kids in event of a breakup. Even if a non-biological parent has failed to legally adopt the child, courts will usually still require them to provide child support.
Sometimes, determining those facts can become a legal issue. In case of any doubt, courts will consider questions such as:
- Did both parents legally adopt a child, or just one parent?
- Did the couple represent themselves as parents to their friends and relatives?
- Did both parents attend medical checkups and Lamaze classes during the pregnancy?
The bottom line
While the underlying law that governs child custody is the same for both traditional and LGBT couples, certain legal issues are more common for LGBT couples. An attorney can provide assistance regarding LGBT family law issues.