Florida same-sex couples who are raising children together or are planning to either adopt or use donor insemination should consult with an Orange Park Law Firm practicing in gay legal issues.
Florida same-sex parenting issues are an evolving area of law. The question about the legal parentage of a child can be the most important question in a couple’s relationship, as well as having significance to the child.
Should an Orange Park same-sex couple break up, only the legal parent will be entitled to custody and visitation, and only they are legally responsible for the care and support of the child. This can have a profound and detrimental effect to not only the non-legal parent, but the child as well.
A “legal parent” is one who has the right to live with the child and has the authority to make decisions about the health, education and welfare of that child. A legal parent also has a legal obligation to support the child financially.
There have been several cases nationwide in which a biological or adoptive parent tries to deny the parental rights of their partner (or ex-partner). The results of these cases has been mixed.
The Deleware Supreme Court issued a ruling last spring upholding the rights of a woman who had raised a child with her former same-sex partner (a child the partner adopted but that the woman herself did not). The court identified the woman as a “de facto ” parent. A “de facto” parent has been defined as a person who shares (at least) equally in primary childcare responsibilities while residing with a child for reasons other than money.
The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that a non-biological mom has a right under the doctrine of “in loco parentis” (which recognizes a person who has acted as a parent) to be heard at a court hearing regarding custody and visitation rights of a child that she and her former partner were raising.
However, the North Carolina Supreme Court, in a decision last year, decided that a lesbian mother’s second parent adoption was void.
Mixed court ruling equates to uncertainty in this area of law. It is important therefore, to take the time to speak with an Orange Park Family Law Attorney who can suggest legal documents which may help to protect you, your partner and your kids.