As the state of Missouri moves to comply with the law about same-sex marriages, there are still challenges for same-sex couples in areas of family law. One such issue involves child custody. When a same-sex couple gets divorced or splits up, it can create problems when it comes to the legal side of the custody of the children involved in the relationship.
According to the American Bar Association, this is not a challenge for same-sex couples because biology comes into play as far as parental rights. A paternity test is taken to determine who the legal father is and the mother is whoever gave birth to the child. It is also not an issue for any couple who adopted a child together because the adoption sets the legal status of parenthood.
However, it becomes complex when it is a lesbian couple and one of the women gave birth to the child. Legally, only the woman who gave birth is the legal parent. The other person would have to adopt that child to gain parental rights.
Same-sex couples face some hurdles. Adoption is generally the solution, but in a contested custody case, this may be complicated. It also results in hard decisions for the courts, which are bound by the law when making custody decisions.
The law needs time to adjust and catch up with the changing dynamics of families. In the meantime, the courts and same-sex couples are left to find solutions that are fair to everyone, especially the children involved. This information is for education. It is not legal advice.