• Same-Sex Couple and Child Custody Rights

    Same-Sex Couple Marriage in Florida

    In January of 2015, the state of Florida legally recognized same-sex marriage. LGBTQ couples from the Sunshine State now had the right to legally marry and live as a married couple in Florida. Additionally, the state of Florida has several marriage and divorce laws that now apply to same-sex couples. These include prenuptial agreements, equitable division of property, spousal support and alimony, child support, and child custody.

    With the rapid pace of science, reproductive technology has enabled same-sex and LGBTQ couples to have children. In some cases, one or both partners contribute to create the embryo. In other cases, one of the partners will carry the baby. With these reproductive innovations, many Florida LGBTQ couples now have become families with children.

    Same-Sex Couple Divorce in Florida

    Some families flourish, but a portion of same-sex couples end in separation or divorce. Separating same-sex couples can utilize the Florida judicial court system for divorce and for child custody or “time sharing” cases, but these cases can become complex.

    Complexities of Child Custody in Same-Sex Couple Divorce Cases

    Generally speaking, when same-sex partners legally adopt a child, then both parents will have legal custody and a divorce with child custody or “time sharing” case can be treated similarly to a heterosexual couple custody case. Parents will need to create a time-sharing schedule, parenting plan, and child support plan.

    However, when one parent is the biological parent and the other parent has not legally adopted the child, barring any unusual circumstances, the biological parent is likely to obtain full legal custody of the child. A recent landmark case in Florida, Castellat v. Pereira, provided full custody to the biological parent and no parental rights – not even visitation rights — to the non-biological, non-legal parent.

    In the case where same-sex couples use reproductive technology to conceive, clear documentation will be necessary to prove biological or legal parental relationship.

    As in any family court hearing involving children, the courts will make “time-sharing” decisions based on the best interest of the children. Courts consider many factors including:

    • Parenting abilities
    • Health and safety of the child
    • Parent-child relationships
    • Parental communication skills
    • Emotional and developmental needs of the child
    • Child’s preference
    • Parental moral fitness
    • Parental financial situation

    Because child custody cases in same-sex couples can be complicated, it’s important to find a reputable attorney with extensive experience in child custody or “time-sharing.”

    If you have questions about same-sex couples and parental rights, divorce, or child custody, our experienced attorneys can help answer your questions. Our compassionate attorneys provide private complementary consultations.

    For more information, contact us at Troy Legal, (888) 879-7578.

    Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., specializes in Marital and Family Law, providing reputable legal services for prenuptial and co-habitation agreements, paternity cases, adoption matters, alimony and child support, time sharing and parenting plans, drafting of qualified domestic relations orders (qdros), mediation services, equitable distributions, collaborative law, post-judgement modification and enforcement, domestic violence cases, and dissolution of marriage or divorce. Troy Legal, P.is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.

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