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Child custody considerations in same-sex cases

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2022 | Same-Sex Family Law

Many of those people in New Jersey involved in same-sex relationships assume that special statutes exist that govern the disillusionment of marriages in these situations. Such is the school of thought of many of those that come to see us here at the Cipriano Law Offices, P.C. Yet in reality, the same laws applying to heterosexual divorces apply to same-sex cases.

In terms of child custody, many do not realize that they have options when it comes to structuring custody agreements. The belief is that family courts create such arrangements. However, divorcing options have the option of coming up with informal agreements on their own. Same-sex couples should know the pros and cons of each.

A custody order

Having a formal custody order in place brings with it the benefit of decision-making authority. That includes decisions regarding the children’s healthcare, where they go to school, and their primary residence. The authority also has some legal clout, given that the court enforces the decisions made in accordance with the agreement.

Yet a custody order does bring with it certain restrictions. For example, even a parent with the authority to determine the kids’ residence wants to relocate typically needs the approval of the court to do so.

An informal agreement

Court approval is not needed when same-sex parents opt to follow their own informal agreement. It also typically allows for equal say regarding important decisions relative to the children to both parents. However, those rights are only present if parentage exists (which can introduce complexities in a same-sex relationship.

According to New Jersey Law, a parent who is not the natural biological parent to a child may still establish legal parentage through either a judgment of adoption or a gestational carrier agreement.

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