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Legal strangers

When a man and a woman have a baby and then at some point separate, the matter of child custody arises. If the parents decide they cannot collaborate on what is best for the child, they can present the matter to the court in their state and have a judge order a custody arrangement. The judge will review all the circumstances regarding the current parenting relationship between the child and his or her parents and will create a child custody and support order. The judge does so by considering what is best for the child. But what of a same-sex couple? Particularly when only one parent is the biological parent?

In a same-sex marriage, only one person can be the biological parent of a child. So, unless the parent without genetic ties completes a formal adoption or any other legal recognition, the relationship between the child and the second parent may be in danger of not being recognized.

The good news is that in California, the state requires the courts to consider the best interests of the child and the factual circumstances surrounding the relationship the second parent has with the child. The major issue here is that courts aren't even going to consider that relationship unless the parent is legally recognized. Therefore, if no adoption has ever been completed by the second parent, the concerns regarding the best interests of the child do not factor in the parenting arrangements and orders.

A second parent, even one who has been there for every major moment of the child's life, will be considered a legal stranger.

Obviously, if you are considering or suspecting a divorce is imminent, the first thing you must ensure is your legal recognition as a parent of a non-biological child. Your California family law attorney can work with you to protect that parent/child bond.

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Our office is conveniently located off Highway 50, just three miles from the Sacramento County Family Courthouse and minutes from Downtown Sacramento. For your convenience, we accept all major credit cards.

Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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