For the most part, same-sex marriages mirror most aspects of the unions of their heterosexual counterparts. Still, with the legalization of same-sex marriage still a relatively new aspect of family law, many gay couples must deal with exceptionally difficult issues during divorce proceedings. Child custody in particular can be especially complex.
Those who follow the news in Colorado might have already heard of what is being called a landmark child custody case that recently made the national news. After marrying in 2013, a same-sex couple chose to have a child soon afterwards. Utilizing donor sperm from a friend, one of the women became pregnant and gave birth to the couple’s son in 2014. Although neither party has filed for divorce, the two did become estranged, and the custody of the child came into question.
Although born as a child to both of the women, the boy had apparently primarily been in the custody of his mother who physically gave birth to him. The birth mother’s estranged-wife went before the court to argue for access to her son, which she had previously been unable to obtain. After weighing in on the matter, the judge ultimately ruled that she does indeed have parental rights to the boy and that she should be permitted access and visitation to spend time with him. The final ruling awaits input from a separate court-appointed attorney who represents the boy’s best interests.
Same-sex and heterosexual parents alike typically have a single desire for their child — whatever is in his or her best interest. Experts on child custody tend to agree that children greatly benefit from continued access to both of their parents. While this matter has apparently yet to be fully made clear in the case of same-sex parents, Colorado parents should not fear the process of filing for or a seeking a divorce, as cases such as this often set precedents that other family law judges give weight to when facing similar circumstances.
Source: 13newsnow.com, “Va. Beach same-sex parental dispute case moves ahead”, Eric Kane, Jan. 8, 2016