Biological parenthood often carries a lot of weight during custody decisions in the state of Virginia, which can introduce challenges when same-sex couples with children decide to end their marriages. The matter becomes particularly complicated when the non-biological parent is not legally recognized as a parent.
From taxes to parental rights, married couples enjoy a wide variety of legal benefits based on their marital status. If you and your partner have opted not to tie the knot, however, legally enforceable contracts may offer the greatest protection throughout the course of your relationship. We at Donna Dougherty Law PC are experienced in helping unmarried Virginia couples plan for their lives together.
After a divorce or separation, child support can be an important factor in ensuring the health, happiness and general wellbeing of the child. Given the recent changes in Virginia's laws regarding marriage equality and second-parent adoptions, if you are a custodial parent coming out of a same-sex partnership, you should face no additional obstacles in seeking support for your child or children.
Though same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Virginia for several years, many couples prefer to remain unmarried for a variety of reasons. However, if such a relationship comes to an end, it may be difficult for either partner to obtain a legal basis for financial support. Thus, it is important for cohabiting couples to arrive at a legal agreement regarding each person’s obligations, financial and otherwise, within the relationship.
Though same-sex marriage has been legal in Virginia for more than two years, the quest for equal treatment in court continues. Legal inconsistencies are particularly evident for same-sex couples both state- and nation-wide who are seeking divorce and child visitation and custody rights.
The past couple of years have been exciting for same-sex couples in Virginia and elsewhere. Same-sex marriage was legalized in every state. Equalizing divorce and child custody rights followed suit. At Donna Dougherty Law P.C., we understand that laws and opinions are still evolving regarding same-sex marriage and divorce, since this is such a new area. If you are part of a same-sex couple, you might be faced with biases regarding how your children are developing emotionally.
Since the federal ruling in June 2015, same-sex couples in Virginia theoretically have enjoyed not only the right to marriage but also the marriage benefits that have long been available to opposite-sex couples. However, there are still plenty of wrinkles in the system, as shown in a decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia earlier this year.
If a man and woman marry in Virginia and later decide to have children, both spouses become legal parents. However, the The Huffington Post notes that current divorce and custody laws have yet to catch up to the legal recognition of gay marriage. This can create a problem when neither spouse is biologically the parent of the child and the same-sex spouses make the decision to divorce. Further complicating the matter may be that one spouse is the biological parent and the other spouse failed to legally adopt the child.
It has been roughly one year since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. As residents in Virginia and the rest of the country have had some time to get used to this regardless of their personal views on the matter, it is interesting to look at how opinions have shifted in general over the past few years. Information provided by the Pew Research Center gives a glimpse into such views.
Virginia spouses who are in same-sex marriages likely celebrated with others around the country last year when these marriages were declared legal in all 50 states by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, that ruling, while important and a big step forward in its own right did not solve every problem that a gay or lesbian couple may eventually face. When such a couple ends up getting a divorce, what happens to any children?