When you married your spouse, and had your children, you probably never expected to be facing divorce, or a custody battle. Now that you are, you need to make sure that your rights, and the rights of your child are protected. Unfortunately, that can be difficult when you're not sure what your rights are. While same-sex marriages are becoming more widely recognized, and are now legal in about 37 states across the US, the courts haven't necessarily caught up regarding same-sex divorce or custody issues. Now that you're dealing with a custody battle, here are three steps you can take to avoid problems.
Understand the Custody Laws
When it comes to custody disputes involving same-sex couples, it's important that you understand the laws of the state you're living in. For instance, does the state you live in recognize the non-biological parent? How does the state view the grandparents of children from same-sex marriages. Are they allowed to petition for visitation rights of their grandchildren? Understanding the custody laws of the state you live in will help you prepare for those difficulties.
Maintain Your Parent/Child Relationship
If you and your spouse have separated, it's important that you maintain the relationship you have with your child. Your spouse may try to prevent you from seeing your child. If you're not the biological parent, your spouse may try to say that you have no legal rights to the child. That's not necessarily the case, especially if you have already developed a strong, loving relationship with your child. Maintaining the relationship will show the court that you're determined to remain in your child's life. If your spouse refuses to allow you to see your child, document each time you try to see them. One way to do that is to send letters and packages to your child through the mail. Send each item with a tracking number so that you can provide proof to the courts that you're trying to maintain your relationship.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer
Just because your marriage has ended, doesn't mean the relationship you have with your child has to end. If you're involved in a custody battle, you need legal help to make sure your rights are protected. This is particularly true if you're leaving a same-sex marriage. Your family attorney will be able to help you through the complex legal issues that may be involved, especially if you live in a state that hasn't properly addressed same-sex custody laws.