Long Island Attorneys Address Custody Issues of Same-Sex Couples

Solving legal conflicts in the best interests of your children

In 2011, New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, which redefined what constituted a married couple, but did not address all the implications for families. However, a recent decision has given many same-sex partners who hold children out as their own, provide financial support and love them as parents should, legal standing to assert parental rights. At Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C., we provide aggressive legal representation for same-sex spouses and domestic partners in child custody matters. We work with clients who have decided to dissolve a relationship and want to maintain a loving relationship with a child, as well as couples in intact relationships who want to be proactive about protecting parental rights. Our experienced attorneys employ various strategies and remedies to achieve favorable results for you and your child.

Negotiated agreements that protect parental rights

When a same-sex couple adopts a child jointly, each has legal standing as a parent. But many gay and lesbian couples are raising children together, although only one of them has legal standing as a parent. For some, the child is from a previous marriage. Other couples have used surrogates or sperm donors to conceive children who are biologically related to one spouse or partner. Unfortunately, if the couple separates or divorces, the non-biological parent may not have any right to child custody or visitation. Without standing, a person cannot even argue that visitation would be in the best interests of the child. Even if a family court judge is sympathetic, the court cannot compel visitation for a non-parent over the objections of a legal parent, who must get full custody.

At Salamone & Associates, our attorneys use effective strategies to negotiate child custody and visitation agreements out of court. We find that in many situations, the parent knows that the child does not make any legal distinctions, and thinks of both partners as its parents. We’ve been successful in drafting parenting plans that allow visitation in exchange for child support, similar to any divorced couple.  

Second parent adoption to provide legal standing

Same-sex couples who want to avoid future legal problems can initiate a second parent adoption, so that both partners have legal standing. In that case, a gay or lesbian partner who is a child’s biological parent can consent to have his or her spouse adopt the child. The only sticking point is that a child can only have two legal parents, so the other biological parent must give up parental rights. In the case of a sperm donor, contracts for such services often require a surrender of parental rights. But informal agreements among acquaintances frequently leave out such provisions, giving a donor rights equal to any unmarried parent.

Trust our Long Island attorneys to address same-sex couple child custody issues.

Same-sex couples cannot assume that the law gives them parental rights. Trust Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. to give you accurate advice and aggressively represent your interests. To schedule a free initial consultation, act now! Call 1.631.479.3839 or contact our office online.