Parental Rights with Unmarried Same Sex Couples

 Posted on January 25, 2018 in Child Custody

Parental Rights with Unmarried Same Sex CouplesThough same sex couples are able to legally marry, not all couples take advantage of that right. Some couples committed to each other long before the change in the laws and do not see marriage as a necessity. Thus, the legal process of them splitting up is different from a divorce:

  • On the positive side, they have the flexibility to determine their own separation agreement without worrying about complying with divorce laws; but
  • On the negative side, they do not have the same protections that assure that their shared properties will be divided equitably.

However, unmarried same sex couples do not have flexibility when it comes to child-related issues. Child support and the allocation of parental responsibilities must comply with state laws, regardless of whether the parents are married.

Shared Parentage

Child-related issues between a separating couple are treated the same as with a divorce as long as they are both legal parents to the children. Shared parentage can work in several ways for same sex couples:

  • With two females, one can be the birth mother, while the other mother adopts the child;
  • With two males, one can be the biological father through a surrogate. The biological father can voluntarily claim paternity upon the child’s birth, and the other father can adopt the child; or
  • Both parents can adopt a non-biological child.

As long as both parties are legal parents, they have an equal right to parenting time and decision making with the child. The non-residential parent may also be required to pay child support.

One Legal Parent

A non-biological parent who has never legally adopted the child may not have any parental rights or responsibilities after a separation. The legal parent may be able to successfully argue that his or her former partner is not guaranteed parenting time with the child, though that would also free the partner from child support obligations. However, the legal parent should also consider what is best for the child, regardless of what he or she is legally required to do. A child who has been raised by two people in a same sex relationship will consider both of them to be parents. Taking away one parent without the promise of regular visits would be emotionally traumatic.

Children of Same Sex Couples

With or without marriage, separating parents can find it difficult to settle on child-related issues. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you divide the allocation of parental responsibilities and establish child support payments. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.



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