Same-sex couples could face visitation issues

The plight of same-sex couples to be treated equally under the law has been very long and well documented. For years, same-sex couples have been struggling to have some of the same simple rights that heterosexual couples enjoy, most specifically the right to marry. While a recent Supreme Court decisions finally granted this right to same-sex couples, marriage is only a part of the picture when dealing with families and the law.

While many people think of family law primarily as the area that governs divorces and asset division, one of the most important aspects of family law concerns children and the effects that a divorce or breakup will have on them. In many cases, family law is directly responsible for safeguarding the well-being of a child as it grows up. Modern opinion holds that children are best served when both of their parents are involved in their upbringing, which is why joint custody is becoming more common. However, this is not necessarily the case for same-sex couples.

Recently in Florida, an appeals court decided on a case involving a same-sex couple who had children when one of the women in the relationship was artificially inseminated. According to the ruling, the woman who was not the biological parent of the children but helped to raise them does not have visitation rights. For her part, the woman claims that she is the psychological parent, and she should be given the same rights as a parent in a heterosexual relationship would be given.

This legal battle is likely not over, and the outcome could have ramifications that affect family law all across the state, and perhaps even the country. It is unfortunate that the law surrounding same-sex couples is still so ambiguous in many ways, but the truth is that the Supreme Court ruling only made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. Many of the other extremely important aspects of family law are still shrouded in mystery, and exactly how the law will treat these issues is something that will need to be developed over many legal proceedings. If you feel that you are unlawfully being denied visitation rights to your child, it is in your best interests to meet with an attorney.

Source: WJCT, "Florida Court Denies Gay Partner Child Visitation," Jim Ash, Oct. 16, 2015

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