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Same-sex couples and child custody and visitation rights

We've spoken in the past about same-sex couples facing visitation and child custody battles in the courts. For example, just recently a sperm donor was granted parenting rights in Florida when the child was already being raised by the biological mother and the mother's partner.

Certain authorities feel that such a decision is somewhat troubling. For example, a spokesperson for the Florida Family Council expressed concerns that for heterosexual couples, the primary concern is the best interests of the child. However, he felt that when it came to homosexual couples, adult choices often take precedent over the needs of the child.

However, other recent family law cases in other parts of the country have demonstrated that there may be another trend. In a well publicized custody battle in the Midwest, a woman that had been involved in a same-sex relationship was awarded partial custody of two children - despite the fact that she was not the children's biological mother.

The judge in that case did feel it was in the best interest of the children to have two parents, but in this case the two parents awarded partial custody both happened to be female. The judge stated that a severance of a relationship between the children and the woman that had raised the children as her own would "risk emotional and psychological harm."

It is because courts have sometimes sent confused message as to the direction that visitation and child custody cases take, those caught up in disputes likely will require the assistance of experienced family law attorneys to make certain that the child's needs are met. The outcome of such decisions is too important to be conducted arbitrarily.

Source: World Magazine, "Same-sex couples win more than visitation rights in custody battles," by Tiffany Owens, Feb. 27, 2013

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