How Will Family Courts Address Child Custody In Same Sex Marriages?
With the U. S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down part of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, this is yet another iron in the fire for the family court system. There are a multitude of scenarios that will bring new challenges and questions. For instance, if both dad and dad are not biological fathers and they get divorced who gets custody? Or if one dad is the biological father does he automatically get custody by being so? If child is being raised by both biological dad and non-biological dad and biological dad passes away, does child automatically go to biological mother (who may or may not be in the picture) or non-biological father who has been raising the child? There are so many factors that can come into play with so many scenarios.
There are artificial insemination cases, surrogacy cases, adoption cases, etc. If you are a non-biological parent in any of these situations, what do you do? Well the first thing is to calm down. It can be devastating if a situation arises where you may have to hand over a child that you have loved and raised to someone else simply because they are the biological parent. This is especially true if the biological parent has not had any or much involvement in that child’s life.
The best thing to do if you are in any of these kinds of family relationships is to plan ahead. When both parents are biological parents and one spouse passes away they normally don’t have to plan for unusual circumstances since the child will more than likely go to the other biological parent. Not necessarily so in the aforementioned situations. No one wants to think of their partner in life dying but the truth is if it does happen it is always best to be as prepared as possible when there is a child involved. When you are grieving the loss of a love one whether through death or divorce, it is not the time that you want to be faced with all these life changing decisions and complications. You will fare much easier if you and your spouse and/or any biological or non-biological parents make these plans ahead of time.
Research what the laws are in your particular state regarding paternity, child custody, guardianship, same sex marriage, etc. Each state is different so do not take for granted that what works in one state applies to others. Your same sex marriage may be recognized in one state but not another and will not necessarily just transfer over. Do your homework.
Many of the same questions may also apply to child support. If non-biological mom and other non-biological mom are raising child and they get divorced, will non-custodial mom be required to pay child support? How will this all pan out in the court system? Most assuredly many of these cases will be covering new ground and there will be many varying circumstances, but as in any child custody case or child support order, the final outcome should always remain ‘what is in the best interest of the child.