LGBT Child Custody Issues
When it comes to child custody, there is no difference – from an emotional prospective between you and your partner/spouse and any other parents who love their children and want the very best for them. Similarly, divorcing LGBT couples in New Jersey have the same child custody rights as any other couple – gay or straight. If an agreement can’t be reached amicably through negotiation, a NJ family court judge will make decisions based on what he or she believes will be in the best interests of your children.
At the law firm of Graziano & Flynn, P.C., our seasoned and compassionate family law attorneys are ready to take on any challenge involved in your same-sex divorce case. Ron Graziano will fight for your rights and your children’s best interests. From our Cherry Hill, NJ office, we serve clients throughout Camden and Burlington counties and throughout Southern New Jersey.Basics of Child Custody Laws in New Jersey
When drafting a child custody arrangement in New Jersey, you have a few options. If both partners/spouses hire experienced family attorneys, out-of-court negotiations are possible. Similarly, mediation offers a more amicable solution to very complex, emotional issues. Unfortunately, many divorcing couples fight themselves in heated battles over various things – including child custody and child support.
Since 2013, gay and lesbian marriage has been legal in New Jersey; therefore, all divorce laws apply to homosexual couples as they would heterosexual couples. A family court judge should use the same nonbiased considerations as he or she would for a heterosexual couple when determining child custody.
NJ family court judges consider the following issues when determining what’s known as in the “Best Interests of the Child” in any custody battle.
- Financial, physical, and mental well being of each parent
- History of abuse, substance abuse, or domestic violence
- Age of parents and the children
- Other factors that take into account the child’s emotional well being, physical safety, and financial stability
When it comes to issues of child custody, New Jersey law dictates that no gender bias should be shown toward men or women, nor to sexual orientation.
However, same-sex couples may face challenges that need to be discussed with a knowledgeable, experienced LGBT child custody lawyer. When adoption, surrogacy or particularly biological issues come into play, contact Ron Graziano for sound legal advice. He understands the special circumstances and nuances of LGBT child custody law. Mr. Graziano will work tirelessly to protect your children and prevent them from becoming a casualty in a bitter divorce battle. He will help you to craft a custody/visitation agreement that puts your children’s interests first.Special Custody Considerations for Same-Sex Couples in NJ
While divorce is extremely difficult for many reasons, a same-sex divorce with children involved can become exponentially more complicated. In many situations, the children are not the biological children of the parents, or parents have children from a previous relationship.
Biological Child of One Parent
In some cases, the child is only the biological child of one parent. For example, one partner may have children from a previous relationship or had a child on their own. One parent might be a step-parent, or the adoptive parent of his or her partner’s biological child. If you are facing one of these scenarios, talk to Mr. Graziano right away to make sure your rights are protected.
Children of Unmarried Couples
Since LGBT marriage has only been legal in New Jersey since 2013, some couples may face child custody issues outside of a divorce. Same-sex couples may have a domestic partnership or civil union, or have no “legally recognized” relationship at all – each of these sets of circumstances may present unique obstacles to LGBT child custody.
Children of Sperm Donors, Egg Donors or Surrogates
Science allows LGBT couples to take a special part in the conception of their children. You may have opted for a sperm donor, egg donor or surrogate, depending on your circumstances. Generally, you should have the same rights as any other divorcing couple, but don’t hesitate to express your concerns to your lawyer.
If the child or children are not the biological children of the parents, they are still held to the same child custody standards as anyone else. However, if only one parent is officially the legal parent of the child, significant issues can arise if the other parent fights for custody.
When in doubt, ask a skilled Cherry Hill, NJ divorce lawyer like Ron Graziano for guidance on how to best handle your unique circumstances. Nothing is more important than the well being of your children; please retain an attorney experienced in this particular area of law.LGBT Child Custody: Relocation and Other Issues
Gay and lesbian child custody matters become even more complex when additional hurdles must be overcome. You may encounter some bumps in the road if:
- You were married in another state and are seeking a divorce in NJ
- You or your ex-partner wish to relocate to another state
- You or your ex-partner seeks to relocate further away in your own state
Typically, a New Jersey family court will recognize an out-of-state marriage, so this may not affect your divorce process. If you or your ex-partner relocates to another state, the new location might not recognize same-sex marriage or the same rights as New Jersey. Additionally, even if you decide to move within New Jersey, your ex might need to agree to the relocation. Ron Graziano will advise you about the specific laws, rules, and regulations that apply to your individual LGBT divorce and child case.Contact a Camden County LGBT Divorce Lawyer Who Will Make Sure Your Rights Are Protected
Don’t risk sacrificing the health and happiness of your children. Choose Graziano & Flynn, P.C. for legal guidance with your same-sex divorce and child custody case. Our team will work hard to protect you and your children. Located in Cherry Hill, NJ, Graziano & Flynn serves clients throughout Camden County, including Mt. Laurel, Moorestown, Haddonfield, Medford, Voorhees, Pennsauken, Willingboro, Cinnaminson and Evesham.