Things to consider when same-sex couples with children separate

Colorado same-sex couples that have children still face numerous roadblocks to their relationships even though their unions may be legal. These issues can be challenging enough, but when same-sex couples decide to separate, things can get even more complicated. Several things need to be considered before taking that step.

One of the most important issues to consider is how custody and child support will be handled. Having knowledge of how the law applies to these issues can help resolve them in the least intrusive and contentious manner possible. This could include whether another relative such as a biological aunt or grandmother has a right to fight for custody of any children.

Many same-sex couples sign parenting agreements since only one parent can be biologically related to the children, if at all. A review of any agreement signed could help remind a couple of their agreement regarding custody, visitation and support. If no prior agreement exists, steps can be taken to ensure the court can verify a parental connection with a child. Being a biological parent is not a guarantee of full custody. A precedent exists, indicating the non-biological parent can be given custody when the circumstances warrant it.

Colorado does not recognize same-sex marriages but does have provisions for same-sex unions, which provide same-sex couples with many of the same rights and obligations as married couples. However, there could be fundamental differences in how unions are dealt with as opposed to marriages. It may be beneficial to seek advice and assistance in a separation to ensure each party's rights and responsibilities are clearly understood.

Source: The Huffington Post, Facing Divorce? Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples With Children Need to Know, Nicole H. Sodoma, Feb. 20, 2014

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