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Adoption and custody in same sex divorce/family law matters

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same sex marriage is a legal institution throughout the country. As a result, many of these couples may be under the mistaken impression that same sex adoption and custody will be treated with the same legal protections that heterosexual couples enjoy. However, same sex couples in New York may benefit from seeking more information concerning the state's position regarding same sex divorce/family law matters.

While every state now regards same sex marriage as a legal right, adoption and child custody are separate issues. Some states will not allow a gay couple to legally adopt a child or will not permit a same sex second parent adoption in the event a child is born to the union through a surrogate or artificial insemination. In these states -- and in others -- it may be beneficial to draw up a parenting plan in the event the union does not last. Having such a plan in place may help a court to decide that the second parent is given due consideration.

Though these agreements may not be given much consideration in some states, it may still allow a couple who has entered into parenthood jointly to continue to place the child first when it comes to parenting. Couples that are able to clearly spell out each party's role in a child's life, including practical needs, may fare better as parents regardless of whether the relationship lasts. New York laws are more favorable than some other states, though being prepared is a prudent measure to take.

When a marriage ends, it is helpful to have a clear picture of how a child will be raised moving forward. Judges may take many factors into consideration or may negate the second parent's role completely. This is a good reason to have a concise agreement in place so that both parents can continue to have a place in a child's life. New York couples may consult with an attorney who specializes in same sex divorce/family law matters in order to protect the rights he or she is entitled to concerning future parenting.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Issues for Gay and Lesbian Adoption", Accessed on March 11, 2017

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