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What Happens to the Children when Same-Sex Families Break Up?

Posted on October 23, 2014 in Divorce

same sex coupleWith more and more states enacting same-sex marriage laws, there will also be same-sex divorces that take place. For many divorcing same-sex couples, child custody will also be a major issue to negotiate.

Many same-sex couples become parents by using either surrogate mothers or sperm donors. For couples who use surrogate mothers, often the surrogate’s eggs are fertilized with one or both of the male couple’s sperm and the baby is then the biological child of one of the spouses. With female couples, often one of the women are impregnated with a sperm from a donor and carries and delivers the baby, making her the biological mother of the child.

A new study has revealed that the biological parentage of children in same-sex relationships has, in the past, played a major role in how the courts are deciding who gets custody of the children. The author of the study, Dr. Abbie Goldberg, found that because there are no definitive laws that protect non-biological parents, they ultimately have no say in whether or not they will be allowed to stay a part of the child’s life that, up until the relationship breakup, they were considered the other parent.

Goldberg interviewed adult children whose biological and non-biological parents had split up while they were growing up. In families where the non-biological parents were not allowed to maintain a relationship with the child because there was no legal document in place, the adult children were resentful about the way the situation was handled. This was especially true when there were other siblings involved from whom they were separated.

Goldberg points to one case as an example where the same-sex couple was female. Each of the women had given birth during the relationship and the children were being raised as siblings. But when the couple split, they each took their own biological child and the children were no longer allowed to see each other.  The woman Dr. Goldberg interviewed, who is now 24 years old, explains how wrong this was for her and her brother and feels that if there were laws that addressed this issue, a judge would not have allowed the parents to split the children up.

No matter what your situation is, if you are involved in a child custody dispute, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney to find out what the best options may be for you and your child.

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