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Same-sex parent child custody issues and the importance of second-parent adoption

Same Sex Wedding.jpgWhen it comes to marriage, same-sex couples in the U.S. have long encountered roadblocks and opposition. Currently, according to the non-profit, Freedom To Marry, 30 states recognize the legal rights of same-sex couples to marry. Measures related to same-sex marriage are pending in many other states. As the nation seems poised to finally allow gay and lesbian couples to marry and enjoy many of the privileges previously only afforded to heterosexual couples, legal issues related to same-sex divorce and child custody must also be addressed.

Obviously, being a parent is about a whole lot more than just biology. Yet, around the country, many states continue to view child custody cases involving same-sex couples through the narrow scope of which parent is biologically related to a child.

Consequently, loving gay and lesbian parents who have played an integral and vital role in their child's life are losing their legal rights to see and access a child. These types of unfair and heartbreaking custody decisions are why same-sex parents would be wise to take steps to legally adopt a child as soon as possible.

When in love and welcoming a child into the world, it may seem unfathomable that a relationship could ever change or end. However, every relationship and marriage can succumb to the stresses and challenges associated with raising children, managing careers and meeting financial and familial obligations. In cases where gay or lesbian parents break-up or divorce, it's important that both parents are legally recognized as having parental rights.

Illinois residents who are dealing with a same-sex divorce or child custody battle would be wise to turn to a family law attorney. An attorney can advocate for a parent's rights to a child and help negotiate child custody terms that are agreeable and ultimately serve to meet a child's best interests.

Source: Human Rights Campaign, "Second Parent Adoption," 2014

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