Getting divorced is something that most couples, especially those who have children together, never expect to do. For those who are getting divorced, resolving common disagreements in a divorce, such as how custody of children will be shared, can be emotional and legally complex. And for same-sex couples in Massachusetts who are parting ways, making a determination about child custody may be even more complex, as the parents cannot both be the child’s biological parent.
If you are pursuing a same-sex divorce in Massachusetts, our same-sex divorce lawyer at the Law Office of Heather M. Ward can help. Here’s what you need to know about child custody in a same-sex divorce case in MA—
Unique Issues in a Same-Sex Child Custody Case in Massachusetts
Same-sex couples in Massachusetts will face many of the same hurdles and challenges in a divorce that straight couples face. When it comes to child custody, however, there may be additional complexities.
Because only one parent in the divorce may be the child’s biological parent, the other parent may wonder whether they have legal rights. In short, if the non-biological parent legally adopted the child, then they are the child’s parent in the eyes of the law, regardless of their biological relationship. As such, one parent is not inherently advantaged in a child custody case.
There may be situations where one parent in the relationship is the biological parent of the child or legally adopted the child, and while the two parents both raised the child together, the other parent never sought legal parental rights. This situation can be difficult to navigate. The court may find that the parent without legally established parental rights still has some rights to custody or visitation based on the care and parental guidance they have provided to the child over the years; however, this can vary based on the circumstances of the case. Parents who have legally established parental rights will be favored in a child custody case in Massachusetts, regardless of the sexual identity of the parents.
What to Do If You’re a Parent in a Same-Sex Divorce
If you’re a parent in a same-sex divorce, especially if you never established legal parental rights in regards to your child, you need to hire a skilled family law and child custody attorney in Boston. An attorney can help you to understand the law and your rights under it, as well as steps that you can take to improve the outcome of your case. Your attorney can also gather evidence to show that the child’s best interests are protected if you are granted custody, and can represent you during a child custody trial. With so much on the line, representing yourself during a child custody case is a risky move—make sure that your interests are protected by calling a skilled attorney.At The Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our child custody attorney in Massachusetts is ready to review your case and provide you with legal advice today. To learn more, please send our law firm a message or call (617) 903-8955 at your convenience.