Jacksonville Same Sex Divorce Attorney
On January 6, 2015, same-sex marriage became legal in Florida.Same sex married couples who have children and are divorcing may have different rights as it pertains to the children. Many times only one of the partners has legal rights over the children.
Under Florida law, both partners are the legal parents of a child if:
(a) The child was born into a marriage in a state where the marriage confers parental rights on the non-biological partner, or
(b) The non-biological partner adopted the children or established a parent-child relationship through a parentage action, or
(c) The two partners jointly adopted the children.
Jacksonville Same Sex Divorce Lawyer
Where both parents have equal rights over the children, child-related disputes should be handled by the courts just as they are for a heterosexual divorce. In those cases, the judge considers a number of factors and renders a decision that is in the best interests of the children.
If, however, only one of the partners is the legal parent of the children, the result will be markedly different. If only one person has parental rights under the law, the second person will likely have no parental rights at all. This means that the spouse with no parental rights will not have visitation nor a financial obligation to pay child support.
Some same-sex couples adopt. Others bring children into the world through sperm-donation. When adopting, if both parties are not listed as the adopting parents, custody battles can be lengthy and cumbersome. Even if one spouse adopts a child before marrying the other spouse, both spouses should at some point adopt the child and both become legal parents to the child. This can occur through a secon parent adoption.
Some lesbian couples go to a sperm bank, find a donor, after one of the women becomes pregnant and the child is born, the names of both of the women are listed on the birth certificate. It is still advisable for the other woman to legally adopt the child legally via a step parent adoptions to preserve her rights as a parent in the event the couple moves to a different state that may have conflicting laws.