How is Child Custody Handled in a LGBT Divorce?
For years, LGBT couples fought to get gay marriage legalized. Once they succeeded – after a long and arduous battle- the inevitable happened. LGBT couples realized they now had to deal with divorce just like other married couples. As anyone knows, a good percentage of marriages end in divorce. It’s a fact. This is no different for LGBT couples in Houston. Texas. Things don’t always work out. However, divorce can be painful and complicated. This is even more true when it comes to child custody.
Child custody is complicated in any divorce case. However, they can be even more confusing in LGBT divorce cases. This is because a lot of LGBT couples adopt children. Or, they raise one of the spouse’s biological children. Since, most of the time, only one spouse is the legal parent, custody can become a serious issue.
If you’re considering divorce, or are ready to file, you don’t want to do it alone. You’re going to need an experienced LGBT divorce lawyer in Houston – especially if you have kids. You need someone who has the knowledge to protect your parental rights. You also want an ally by your side to work hard to negotiate a fair marital settlement agreement so things don’t get ugly.
Why is Child Custody So Difficult in LGBT Divorce Cases?
There are all sorts of families in Texas. There are traditional families, with a mom, dad and 2.5 children. There are blended families, where both spouses bring children from a prior marriage into their new relationship. And, there are families raising adopted children.
Normally, when a couple raises a child together, they’re both legal parents to the kids. This could be because their children are their biological children. Or, they may have adopted the child together. In some situations, a person remarries and their new spouse adopts the kids.
With LGBT couples, things work a little differently. Obviously, a gay couple can’t have their own biological children. Sure, they may be a blended family, with each spouse bringing children into the new marriage. However, if they didn’t actually adopt these children, they won’t have legal rights to custody.
Usually, with LGBT families, the kids are adopted. And, because it can be hard for a LGBT couple to adopt a child together, only one parent applies for and complete the adoption. This means that the other parent is not technically or legally parent to those children. If they later divorce, only the spouse who completed the adoption will have custody rights.
How Can a Second-Parent Adoption Help?
One way LGBT divorce lawyers can help their clients is if they completed a second-parent adoption. With this type of adoption, one spouse adopts a child. Then, once the adoption is complete, the second spouse adopts the child as well. This way, both become legal parents to their children.
In cases involving a second-parent adoption, LGBT divorce lawyers can treat it as a regular custody case. The same rules apply to both parents. They can either agree to a shared parenting arrangement, or, the court can impose one.
In second-parent adoption cases, unless there’s a good reason why one parents is unfit, both spouses will share custody. The exact terms of custody can be negotiated by your Houston divorce attorney. They will fight to get you as much time with your kids as possible.
Do You Have any Legal Rights if the Children are Not Yours?
Unfortunately, if you aren’t the legal parent to your children, there aren’t a whole lot of options when it comes to custody. The court isn’t going to order custody to a non-parent. Your best option is to work out something amicably with your spouse in your divorce agreement.
This is where your LGBT divorce lawyer is most helpful. They have years of experience working with opposing counsel to settle custody disputes. Hopefully, your spouse will understand that the best interests of your children are most important. Your kids will be better off spending time with both parents. This doesn’t change just because you’re part of an LGBT couple.
Contact an Experienced LGBT Child Custody Lawyer in Houston, Texas
If you’re contemplating divorce, you need a lawyer. If you’re part of an LGBT couple, you want to choose an attorney in Houston who specializes in LGBT family law. There are issues that you’ll face that traditional married couples don’t face when it comes to things like child custody.
Your attorney will fight to get the best marital settlement agreement possible. This includes a fair custody and child support arrangement. Call Eddington & Worley today and schedule your initial consultation.
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