Same-sex couples need to take care with custody agreements

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

Federal laws regarding the recognition of same-sex marriage have changed, and couples now reap many of the same benefits as any other married couple. However, if the relationship ends and there are children involved, states including Illinois have a complex patchwork of of laws that need to be carefully considered by LGBT couples.

When a relationship ends, it is important to know whether or not the state the couple resides in recognizes same-sex marriage and second parent adoption. The recognition of both may give the parents some relief from the idea that grandparents or other third parties can step in and sue for custody. Also important for the divorcing couple is to look at any agreement made prior to the marriage including estate planning documents that may show intention when it comes to the care of minor children.

It is also important for both parents to maintain a routine with the children even if one parent is attempting to push the other parent out of the picture. Being the biological parent won’t automatically be the controlling factor in a court’s decision if the other parent has remained involved with the children. It is also important to consider that most states do not allow waivers for child support, so it is important to take the opportunity to calculate a fair payment based on income.

As the battle for same-sex marriage equality continues with a growing number of states recognizing these unions, collateral issues such as custody, divorce and adoption will increasingly become important. A family law attorney may be able to counsel a client who is affected by these types of matters.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Facing Divorce? Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples With Children Need to Know“, Nicole H. Sodoma , February 24, 2014

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Same-sex couples need to take care with custody agreements