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Same-sex couples still face child custody obstacles

Many Alabama readers are aware of the recent legal changes that have paved the way for same-sex couples to marry. Even though the United States Supreme Court has addressed the matter and concluded that same-sex couples are entitled to marry, nontraditional families still face significant legal challenges. In regard to child custody cases, spouses who live in certain states can face an uphill battle when it comes to gaining rights to their children.

An example is found in a southern family that consisted of two women and two children. When the couple made the decision to expand their family, it was decided that one of the women would adopt a child on her own. This was prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, which left the couple with few options. Years later, the couple decided that the same woman would conceive and carry a child through in vitro fertilization.

After the adoption but before the birth of their second child, the women traveled to another state to get married. When they separated, it left them in a precarious legal position. Their state of residence did not recognize their marriage; therefore, the woman with no legal or biological connection to either child was left with no child custody rights.

She's been fighting to restore her access to her children, but faces several roadblocks. Her former partner alleges that she has been abusive in the past and is unfit to care for the children. In addition, her access to any form of parental rights is also under attack. Those in Alabama facing child custody issues would do well to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney.

Source: NBC News, "For Some Same-Sex Couples, Divorce Is a Legal Nightmare", Julie Compton, Sept. 7, 2016

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