Same-Sex Child Custody

Dallas Attorneys Assisting Families With Parenting Disputes

Due to recent changes in the law, same-sex couples have more rights than ever before. Certain rights may remain in question, however, such as the rights of parents in a same-sex custody dispute. Although several of the concerns that arise in a same-sex custody dispute are similar to those present in an opposite-sex custody dispute, there are additional issues that may occur, and if they are not properly handled, it can permanently affect a person’s parental rights. If you are involved in a same-sex child custody dispute, it is important to engage an assertive Dallas child custody lawyer who is adept at navigating the complexities of these conflicts to help you protect your parental rights. At the McClure Law Group, we are mindful of how important it is to retain the right to custody of your child, and will work diligently to help you pursue a successful outcome.

Biological Versus Legal Parentage

In many cases involving same-sex child custody, one parent is the biological parent of the child, or both parents have legally adopted the child. If only one parent is legally recognized as the parent of a child, it is essential for the other parent to institute adoption proceedings prior to filing any custody lawsuit, to protect his or her ability to exercise parental rights. If it is not possible to formally adopt a child before the commencement of custody proceedings, the process of obtaining custody for the person not legally recognized as the child's parent can be lengthy and difficult.

While Texas law does not have specific provisions providing custody rights for a same-sex parent who is not biologically or legally related to a child, the law provides that a non-parent who has actually cared for and had possession and control of a child for a minimum of six months has the right to petition for custody of a child. Thus, even if a person is not legally recognized as a child’s parent, he or she may nonetheless be able to seek custody. If you are a same-sex parent who wishes to file a custody action in Dallas, you should meet with a skilled child custody lawyer to review your options.

Child Conservatorship and Visitation

In Texas same-sex custody disputes where both parents are legally recognized as the parent of a child, the court will generally decide the custody of a child as it would in any other case. In Texas, custody is comprised of conservatorship, which is the right to make significant decisions regarding the child’s care, education, and upbringing, as well as visitation, which is the right to possession and control of the child. In most cases, the court will issue an order granting both parents conservatorship and visitation rights, and may name one parent as the primary conservator.

In any case, however, the court will analyze what is in the child’s best interest prior to issuing a custody order. Factors weighed in determining what is in the child’s best interest include which parent has historically cared for the child, whether the child has special needs, the resources of each parent, and the health of each parent and of the child. The court may also issue an order requiring one parent to pay the other parent child support if it is warranted under the facts of the case.

Meet with a Skilled Child Custody Attorney in Dallas

Custody disputes are often emotionally charged and contentious, but when the dispute is between same-sex parents, the process of determining a custody arrangement can be legally complicated as well. If you or your child’s co-parent are of the same-sex and are involved in a disagreement over custody, it is advisable to meet with a seasoned child custody lawyer who has experience working with same-sex couples in Texas to discuss your options. At McClure Law Group, we will work tirelessly to help you preserve your parental rights. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available by appointment at our Collin County office in Plano. We are available to represent people in same-sex child custody lawsuits in Dallas, Irving, Fort Worth, Richardson, McKinney, Garland, Frisco, and Rockwall. Additionally, we assist parties in family law matters throughout Dallas, Denton, Collin, Tarrant, Grayson, and Rockwall Counties. We can be contacted through the online form or at 214.692.8200 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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