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Child custody issues for same-sex partners aren't always clear

Same-sex couples can now marry legally, and with that also comes the possibility of divorce and divorce-related issues. If you're part of a married same-sex couple and you have children, you will most likely have to iron things out like who will get custody of the children and who will pay child support.

The issues surrounding same-sex divorce are fledgling ones for court systems in the United States. Extra complications could arise if others are included in the scenario -- like surrogates or biological parents if you adopted children. It all depends upon what kind of agreements you and your partner had with others who played a part in your children's lives.

Courts acting cautiously

While gay marriages and partnerships are recognized as legal, some states like Texas are still walking on eggshells when it comes to making legal decisions regarding the dissolution of them and in determining what's best for your children when that happens.

Texas may not have the same laws as other states do pertaining to same-sex unions, so if you and your partner have separated and moved out of the state, chances are the same rules may not apply in another state. Some states may be iffy on what was previously decided, especially if your child was taken from his or her biological parent and lives with a non-biological parent.

Who pays for the kids?

The biological parentage of your child has less to do with child support than one would suppose. Many courts have ruled that a non-biological parent who starts a family with a same-sex partner and who plans to raise children together within that partnership is just as responsible for paying for that child as his or her biological parent. 

The courts will look at many factors, including the following:

  • How involved you and your former spouse have been in your child's life.
  • Did both of you accept the child as part of your extended families?
  • Was the child adopted by both or either of you?

If your child was adopted

Some courts see non-biological parents who don't adopt their same-sex spouse's kids as "non-parents" when it comes to custody and visitation rights. So, when you're in such a union, adopting the children will give you a better chance of being in their lives should you separate from your partner.

A judge will rule in a way he or she believes is in the best interests of your children. If you break up with your same-sex spouse, you may need to prepare yourself for a court battle. An experienced Texas family law attorney can provide you with guidance and support when facing complex child custody and divorce issues.

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