Same-Sex Couples & Child Custody

Ohio Law Firm Handling Same-Sex Custody Matters

Currently, the Ohio Legislature has not yet begun to formally recognize same-sex couples and the real-world situations these partnerships encounter, including couples who are raising a child together. However, that does not mean there are not legal options available for LGBT families.

At Lawrence Law Office, we are solutions-oriented and creative advocates for our clients. We work closely with families to find creative solutions that focus on their needs and goals, as well as what is in the best interests of the children. From both Delaware & Columbus, our law firm represents same-sex family law clients throughout Ohio including New Albany, Westerville, Worthington, Powell, Dublin, Lewis Center, Shawnee Hills, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Marysville, Sunbury, Ostrander, Waldo, Plain City, Centerburg, Franklin County, Delaware County, Marion County, Morrow County, Union County and Knox County. Contact us today for sound legal representation and nonjudgmental advocacy.

We Can Help You Draft Co-Custody Agreements to Acknowledge a Partner’s Rights

Because Ohio does not legally recognize same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships right now, it also does not recognize the same-sex equivalent of stepparent adoption. However, this does not mean that LGBT couples are left with no legal options for formalizing their parental rights and wishes.

Ohio courts do often recognize co-custody agreements that are negotiated, drafted and executed in good faith by unmarried couples, including same-sex couples. This document can grant the same rights and responsibilities of a natural or adoptive parent. A co-custody agreement can also be augmented to include additional terms that both parties agree to and are believed to be in the best interest of the child.

At our Ohio family law firm, we carefully draft co-custody agreements to comply with guidelines of the court and to withstand legal challenges from an extended family member or other interested party who might try to assert custody rights. However, if this does happen or a same-sex relationship ends and there is a dispute, you can trust that we will be your aggressive advocate in and out of court.

Skilled Co-Custody Dispute and Litigation Representation

Same-sex custody matters are handled in juvenile court, rather than family court. The terminology and legal standards are markedly different and the court rulings are varied. We have experience handling these issues in this venue.

If there is a valid co-custody agreement, Ohio courts have tended to honor some form of continuing relationship with the child if a same-sex couple relationship ends. A co-custody agreement also usually stipulates that if the birth mother dies or if the partnership ends in a “divorce,” the nonbiological co-parent has standing to apply for custody or visitation. This agreement can also state what type of custody arrangement should take effect if a relationship ends between other types of couples, including two men, couples who adopt or couples who use a surrogate.

One of our family law attorneys, Linda Lawrence, is also a certified mediator. She is available to work as your lawyer and advocate or as neutral third-party mediator to help you and your partner find common ground in establishing the terms of a co-custody agreement that you can both agree to. Our law firm also has a strong background negotiating fair and creative terms outside of litigation through the use of collaborative law.

Contact a Detailed Child Custody Attorney in Columbus or Delaware

Handling your custody concerns using an experienced family law attorney can often save you time, money, stress from the beginning and unnecessary strain on your relationships if your union does come to an end. You can feel confident knowing we are committed to protecting your interests as well as what is in the best interest of the child without causing a fight and damaging your future relationship with your children and your former partner.

To establish co-custody rights or to find out where you stand in a child custody dispute, call 740-363-0990 to learn how we can protect your best interests throughout the legal process.

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