Same-Sex Couples and Child Custody in New Jersey

Same-sex couples have unique custody issues compared to other types of custody arrangements. Children may have been born during the marriage to one of the spouses in which case many of the same rules for biological parental custody would apply. However, the situation gets more complicated in situations of adoption, when children are from a prior relationship, or if there is a psychological parental relationship. A lawyer who works with child custody in New Jersey could be helpful in fighting for same-sex parents’ rights.

Different Types of Parenthood For New Jersey Same-Sex Couples

When both partners are legal parents to the child, it is in that child’s best interest to have continuing and frequent contact with both parents. As with all custody issues, the greatest concern is what will be best for the children. If one of the partners carried and birthed the child, there is a biological connection that may be given precedence. In New Jersey, it is a common concern with same-sex couples and child custody if there is no biological connection between the spouses and child, so each party must prove that they are the psychological parent and were instrumental in rearing the child.

Presumed Parenthood in New Jersey

Parenthood is presumed for same-sex couples in the case of a female same-sex marriage where on spouse acted as a gestational carrier, the mother who carried the child will likely have parental rights. However, there is usually a contract created at the beginning of the in vitro fertilization process (IVF) granting both partners parental responsibility.

For male same-sex couples in New Jersey, child custody is often determined by a contract. One partner may donate sperm for IVF with an external surrogate, but through that legal document, they may state that the child was a joint effort and both partners will be afforded parental status. In cases where one partner is not on this legal instrument, then there may be problems establishing paternal rights, and they may need to prove psychological parenthood.

Creating these documents to specify who has parental rights over a child is essential to establishing rights as a parent and preparing for a potential child custody battle in case of a divorce. Children and custody cannot be handled or decided in a prenuptial or postnuptial contract, but spouses could take steps to ensure they are considered a parent by legally adopting any child to be raised in the marriage and creating contracts that show the child was a joint venture between both parties.

Call a New Jersey Child Custody Lawyer for Help

Same-sex couples and child custody in New Jersey include many complicated aspects that could be difficult to handle alone. All custody decisions should be in the best interest of the child, but as a parent, we know that you want to have the ability to remain in your child’s life and help them grow. A dedicated family attorney could help you prove that you should have the rights and responsibilities of parenthood after a divorce by proving biological or psychological parenthood when the situation is unclear. If you are fighting for the custody of your child, call an attorney today to start building your case and preparing to move on with your family’s life.

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