aWhile the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges meant that same-sex couples are free to marry in Louisiana and throughout the U.S., many states have not caught up with the establishment of equal rights in other related areas. Same-sex couples who share children may encounter difficulties with child custody and child support matters that heterosexual couples do not have to deal with.
When same-sex couples end their relationships, the non-biological parents of the children may encounter difficulties when they try to seek custody or visitation with the children. Some courts are reluctant to give non-biological parents of the children visitation or custody rights. Parents who have custody agreements and subsequently move to new states might find that the new states do not honor the agreements they previously reached. While states are technically required to recognize custody agreements that have been reached in other states, some may be reluctant to do so when the agreements call for children to be placed with non-biological parents.
Same-sex parents may also run into problems with securing child support orders after they break up. While some courts have held that parents who agree to start families with same-sex partners should have to provide support for the children after a breakup, other courts may only order child support when the non-biological parents have adopted the children. Courts could look at a few factors when determining whether to order child support, including the intentions that the parents had at the time the children were born, whether the non-biological parent was involved during the pregnancy, whether the parents held themselves with the children as being a singular family unit and whether formal adoption occurred.
Navigating child custody and support issues following the end of a relationship can be difficult for same-sex parents. People who are going through a same-sex divorce with children may benefit from consulting with experienced family law attorneys. An attorney may help his or her client gather evidence that demonstrates why a child custody and support order should be issued so that the client’s rights as a parent may be protected.