With the recent ruling from the Supreme Court same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states.  However, since same sex marriage is still relatively new, the divorce process might be somewhat different including child custody.  Sometimes the law can be a bit unfair to same-sex couples but the law is constantly changing, especially in this area.  It is preferable to try and resolve any child related issues outside of the court to try and avoid major headaches.

However, if you and your partner cannot resolve it between the two of you, it will have to be resolved in a court.  If you do go to court, it will have to be determined that who is the legal parent.  If both of the spouses are legal parents, either because the child was born into the marriage or civil union, or the two of you jointly adopted the child, then both of the parent have rights then it should be probably be handled in the same way as a typical divorce where the best interest of the child is the outcome.

If only one of the spouses is the legal parent, things might be a little more complicated.  Before, in some states, some second parents, who are the non-legal parents, didn’t have many rights such as visiting rights or financial obligations.  More recently, courts have started to recognize second parents as parents with intent to take care of the child. It is important, when going through a situation like this, to keep the interests of the child in mind first.

If you are the only legal parent and you truly believe that visitation with your former partner would be harmful to your child then you have the right to try to prevent it.  But if the only reason your partner doesn’t have parental rights is because the two of you were not able get married earlier, and you would have married if you could have, then it is wrong to deny your partner access to a child you have been raising together.

If you are planning to deny visiting rights to your former partner because you are trying to avoid ongoing contact with them for whatever reason, think about whether your child considers your former partner a parent, and about how your child will feel about a sudden break in the relationship with an important figure in their life.  It is advisable to try and make parenting plan for the benefit of the child.

It is also advisable to find an attorney to speak with before making any big decisions because, as previously mentioned, the law is constantly changing in this area, and that could have an impact on the rights both of the partners have.