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Challenges and Issues in Cases Involving Children and Same-Sex Parents

 Posted on January 22, 2016 in Child Custody

Even though same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States, there are still unique issues facing same-sex couples in Illinois family law courts. When there is a case involving the allocation of parental responsibilities, formerly known as custody cases, same-sex couples may face challenges in getting the parenting time they deserve.

The Legal Rights of Biological Parents

In most instances, the biological parents are presumed to be the legal parents of a child. If someone is not a legal parent, he or she has very few rights regarding a child. He or she may not even be awarded court ordered parenting time.

If a same-sex couple has not taken the proper steps to ensure that they are both the legal parents of a child, then it could open the door for a biological parent to try and claim some rights to parental responsibilities or parenting time. If the same-sex couple splits up, then this situation can leave one of the partners in jeopardy of not having any court mandated time with his or her child.

Becoming the Legal Parent

The law provides several different options for people to become the legal parents of a child, even if they do not have a biological connection. Adoption is the most straightforward way to establish legal parenthood.

While every case is different, all adoptions involve a few common components. The biological parent or parents must either consent to the adoption or the court must terminate the parental rights of the biological parent or parents. An adoption cannot take place if the biological parent retains his or her parental rights. The adoptive parent or parents must also show they are fit parents.

A well-drafted and properly executed surrogacy agreement can also ensure that both spouses are both the legal parents of the child.

Once someone has had his or her parental rights terminated, one cannot seek to have him or her pay child support. He or she will also be unable to petition the court for parenting time or for parental responsibilities. When both partners in a same-sex relationship are the legal parents of a child and they divorce or split up, the family court process works the same way as with any other family.

Speak with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time, please contact an experienced DuPage County family law lawyer right away. Call The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. today at 630-462-9500.



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