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What is a unique custody issue for same-sex families?

The law surrounding same-sex families are not as clear as they should be. There are areas of concern that create unique problems for same-sex couples who wish to divorce.

Specifically, lesbian couples face a unique custody issue that other couples do not. According to Pioneer Press, lesbian couples may end up in a situation where one parent has no legal rights to their children.

The situation

You may find yourself in this parental rights struggle if your partner gave birth to your children. Under the law, she has all the parental rights as the parent. Putting your name on the birth certificate does not grant you any legal rights to the children.

In opposite-sex couples, fathers get automatic rights when they are in a marriage with the mother. For gay couples, they already both must go through adoption to get a child. This problem is unique to lesbian couples because they do not gain automatic rights through marriage nor do they both have to adopt the child.

The solutions

The typical solution for a lesbian couple is that you would have to adopt your children. While this may seem simple enough, it involves all the costs and the inconveniences of any other adoption. You will have to go through a background check and home study even though you are already the parent of the children.

A better solution would be changes in the law that allow automatic parental rights to spouses upon the birth of a child. Removing the gender-specific language in the law currently would be an easy fix.