If you or your spouse has a child from a previous relationship, you should be completely clear about your rights and responsibilities regarding that child. Learning about same-sex marriages with legal parental rights for biological and non-biological parents is also essential if your relationship is ending. We at the Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer know how hard it is for same-sex couples to fight over who gets to keep the children. We are dedicated to providing dependable representation in same-sex parent-child custody issues. We are ready to protect your parental privilege and allow you to continue being involved in your child's life.
Parentage in Same-Sex Marriage
To establish parentage, you need to acquire a legal document from the government identifying the child's lawful parents. This is important in cases involving custody, visitation, and child support. It's also essential because it establishes who holds the legal authority to access information and details about the minor and who can make choices about the child's legal, medical, and educational needs.
If two people get married, the California courts usually presume that both individuals are legitimate parents. This holds for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. However, parentage should be established if both parents demand parental rights and they were not married when the child was born.
Unmarried couples can quickly establish legal parentage if they've registered as domestic partners before the minor's birth. The following prerequisites should be fulfilled by both you and your partner for the courts to recognize your relationship as a domestic partnership:
- Both individuals should register for a "Declaration of Domestic Partnership".
- You should both live together.
- Neither party could be a participant in an ongoing marriage or domestic partnership that hasn't been or isn't presently being dissolved or terminated.
- Neither of you is blood-related, and you're both at least 18 years old.
- You have both agreed to live under the same roof in a domestic partnership.
Each spouse, regardless of their relationship with the other person, has a legal duty to support and care for the kid in case of a divorce, breakup, or dissolution of the domestic partnership. Additionally, when a relationship ends, legal parenting gives each individual the right to legal and physical custody of the minor.
The Parent's Legal Rights
Only biological parents have certain rights in California unless parentage could be proven or the couple was married during the time of the child's birth. The following are only a few of the many parental rights that exist:
- Decide about the child's religious and educational upbringing.
- Give or withhold permission for medical treatments.
- Discuss your child's development with his or her teachers and caretakers.
Once parentage has been proven, each spouse is entitled to details on the child's education, health, and physical growth in addition to the ability to decide what is best for the child's welfare. Establishing parentage offers many benefits for the child and provides these perks to the non-biological parent.
For instance, if both non-biological and biological parents are identified, the child has access to all family records, including medical information. Without proof of parentage, children might not be eligible for life insurance or medical treatment from a non-biological parent. The child is entitled to coverage once parentage is proven, even if the parent is not biological.
One of the most pressing issues you can have as a parent is how you'll care for your child even when you're gone. You might not have a legally binding will because not everyone plans for their death. You must establish parentage right away if you want your non-biological minor to immediately gain access to a portion of your estate.
Verifying parentage won't be a huge concern if you're married before a minor enters your life. To avoid future expensive legal disputes, it's still wise to speak with a lawyer. For instance, even though court decisions have established that married couples are legally recognized as parents in all circumstances other than biological ones, you can run into a biased judge who causes you to doubt your judgment.
It is best to have legal representation since they can speak with these magistrates on your behalf, allowing you to spend time with those you love.
Second Parent Adoption
The term "second-parent adoption" refers to the process through which a person who is not the biological parent of a minor can legally adopt that child and exercise parental rights. A same-sex partner can legally adopt their partner's biological or adopted child and take parental responsibility for them, thanks to this legal procedure.
A second-parent adoption gives the kid two legal parents, which grants both parents specific rights in the event of divorce. Regarding child custody, both parents are acknowledged and legally protected by law. To proceed with the legal paperwork in any second-parent adoption situation, the prospective parent should receive the first parent's approval. A contested proceeding is one in which one parent refuses to hand over parental rights to the other parent.
If a partner challenges the adoption petition, you could only be eligible to adopt in two cases.
- In contentious situations, you could be eligible to adopt if you can demonstrate that it's in the best interests of the child.
- If you can prove that the other parent has ignored their parental duties in a contentious situation, you could be able to adopt.
Before granting the seeking parent legal adoption rights, the court should determine whether the adoption is in the minor's best interests. Typically, the court requires the child's mental and physical records and a "post-placement report." In the end, the report will include details about the potential legal parents' criminal histories, lifestyles, living situations, and other aspects that could help establish whether adoption is in the child's best interests.
Furthermore, non-biological parents can seek parentage judgment under the Uniform Parentage Act. Non-adoptive and non-biological parents may also have children under certain conditions based on the jurisdiction. If non-biological parents can demonstrate that they're living with the minor or offering "psychological support," they could be regarded as de facto legal parents per parentage laws in several states.
Each state has specific rules governing who it considers a legal parent. It is crucial to obtain legal documents as a parent to prevent child custody disputes if you're a non-biological parent. Many states don't accept parentage petitions or second-parent adoption. A parenting agreement is an option if you and your spouse reside in a jurisdiction that prohibits you from legally adopting a child who isn't your biological child.
The second parent would be granted sole custody under a parenting arrangement. Although this agreement does not formally acknowledge the other partner as a parent, it could be used in a legal proceeding to get visitation and child support rights.
California Family Code 3011 and Child Custody
In the event of a divorce, the California FC Section 3011 provisions outline procedures for determining what is in the child's best interests. This provision serves as a guide for child custody issues in all California courtrooms. When deciding whether to grant child custody, the California court takes into account several important aspects relating to the child's life, including:
- The well-being of the child.
- Any history of violence or abuse by the custodial parent or their spouse.
- The court would need any written records that provide it more details on the alleged abuse to rule on the case.
- The nature of both parents' relationship.
- The location of the child's school and other recreational facilities like participation in the community.
- The child's exposure to unlawful substances. Any record of illegal drug usage by any parent who is seeking child custody would be taken into account by the court.
After taking into account the considerations above, the court may determine that neither parent is capable of raising the kid. In some situations, the court gives a third-party guardianship of your child. The parents could still be granted visitation rights even if the court finds one or both of them incapable of raising the child.
Parental Obligations in Same-Sex Marriages
The responsibilities placed on an individual with established parentage, irrespective of biological status, are similar for same-sex couples as for opposite-sex couples. Most of these commitments only become relevant after a relationship has ended. These are some of them:
- The responsibility to support your child financially.
- The duty to disclose financial information to a court or an attorney.
- The responsibility to establish a visitation or custody plan that serves the child's best interests.
- The responsibility to adhere to that plan, irrespective of your relationship and terms with the other caregiver.
Obtaining Parental Rights
As was previously said, there is very little cause for concern when a couple is married before they have a child. According to California laws, non-biological and biological parents have constitutional rights to their children. California has recently permitted over two names to be featured on children's birth certificates, enabling families of all kinds to ensure that every parent's constitutional rights are upheld.
There are several cases in which you might not have parental privileges over any children you have together. Despite being married to your partner, some parents choose to put off marriage until after their child has been born, while others might only find a suitable life partner after their child has been born, conceived, or adopted.
Even if the non-biological and biological parents are married, these circumstances can influence their parental rights. You can get around this problem by letting the non-biological parent adopt the minor or adding them to the young one's birth certificate.
Legal counsel is recommended if you're a married non-biological parent and want to learn more about your rights and responsibilities under the law. Family law attorneys in California are well-versed in same-sex marriage issues and the parental rights of both non-biological and biological parents. They have the power to make sure that all parties are aware of and able to exercise their constitutional rights and obligations concerning the children they share.
The Child's Best Interests
Legal proceedings involving child custody are governed by Section 3011 of the California Family Code. The court should always make any California visitation or child custody ruling with the children's best interests in mind. Courts cannot, for instance, give one parent more custody over the other or exclude one parent from their child's development if it's not in that child's best interests.
The following factors are taken into account by the courts when considering the type of custody arrangement that is best for the child:
- The child's well-being and health with each parent.
- If or not either or both parents have a history of violent or abusive behavior toward their children, drug dependence, or other types of criminal conduct.
- The nature of the bond between the child(ren) and each parent.
- How much time the child spends with each of their parents.
- Each parent's capacity to provide for the child(ren).
- The child's current living conditions, how long those conditions have been in existence, and how effectively they are serving the child.
- Where the child's daycare or school is located.
- Whether a child's ability to develop socially or be a member of the community would be hampered by living with just one parent.
These are similar grounds utilized for the dissolution of each marriage, irrespective of the parent's sexual orientation. Consider working with a seasoned defense attorney if you feel that the judge or mandatory mediator assigned to your case is handling you or your relationship unfairly because of your family makeup or sexual orientation. Getting legal counsel guarantees that any choices made affecting you and your kids will be done following the text of the laws and not out of any personal bias from the judge.
Factors Affecting Same-Sex Parents' Child Custody
When filing for divorce, same-sex partners do have a lot to consider. Who will have custody of the children, who will pay spousal support, and how will the assets be distributed? The legislation provides for procedures by which former spouses can seek alimony and equitable distribution of property. Child custody decisions involving same-sex couples are complex and take numerous considerations into account.
The courts would approach the case uniquely if the child(ren) were adopted (either by both parents or just one), if the pair used surrogacy, if the child's conception occurred through egg or sperm donation, or if the young one is from another relationship. These considerations can influence the judge's decision about child custody, but it depends on the specifics of the procedures.
Documentation showing the non-biological parent's involvement in the child's life is essential if that parent wants to keep close relationships with and legal custody of the child.
Adoption laws vary from state to state throughout the United States, although the party who signed the adoption papers generally has legal custody of the kid. No matter how important a part you played in the child's upbringing, the court can not support your claim if there's no official record of your involvement.
If you have been actively involved in your child's upbringing and are now embroiled in a custody battle, you should speak with a lawyer in your area about the best course of action. If you have sufficient evidence, you could be capable of fighting for your rights to visitation or custody of your child.
The child will only have a biological connection to one of its parents if it was created through surrogacy or sperm or egg donation. Either parent can legally claim a child, but the party that contributed the egg or sperm has the most substantial legal standing.
Child custody disputes can arise when a child's non-biological parent(s) didn't adopt the minor or didn't sign their birth certificate. Becoming a legal parent is crucial for several reasons, including establishing parental rights and preserving custodial rights in divorce.
Children at the Reasoning Age
The desires of the children are taken into consideration by courts across the country when determining their best interests and, consequently, what is the ideal child custody arrangement. Children above 18 have more say in the child custody decision and can offer more constructive input.
Children who have been legally declared adults are entitled to make decisions about their education, health insurance, and the management of their assets. A child who has not yet reached the age of 18 but who meets specific requirements can emancipate themself.
If the following conditions are met, the court can consider emancipating the child:
- The minor is older than 14 years.
- The minor is earning their own money (lawfully making money).
- The child can manage his/her expenses.
- The minor is committed to leaving their foster home or the party that was given custody.
Parental rights and responsibilities regarding child custody are identical whether the parents are heterosexual or homosexual. Child custody cases require parents to work out an arrangement for joint parenting and child care arrangements. As such, parents must file the appropriate documentation and reach an agreement, either in or out of court. The best way to decide how property and child custody would be divided during divorce is through mediation, which can be done outside the courtroom.
Find a Family Law Lawyer Near Me
When determining something as significant as parentage issues, you should retain qualified legal counsel before going to court. Your child could be stripped of certain rights, including the right to an inheritance and the ability to choose long-term parental care for both non-biological and biological parents.
You can contact us at the Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer if you're a non-biological or biological parent who wants custody of your child. Our expert attorneys will help you understand your rights and privileges as a same-sex parent and how to assert them in court. Call us today at 310-695-5212.