Your Rights as a Nontraditional Family

August 26, 2016

nontraditional family divorce attorney in Dublin

Same-sex couples and unmarried parents have always existed, but such nontraditional couples have only recently been accorded many of the same legal rights and protections as married heterosexual couples. Statutory and case law continue evolving, however. This means that people in committed same-sex relationships and people who wish to co-parent children without getting married must take steps to ensure they do not lose out when matters related to divorce, child custody, and parenting time go to court. 

Family Law Concerns for Same-Sex Couples 

Ohio law recognizes same-sex marriages and allows individuals and couples of any sexual orientation to adopt children. Guaranteeing such basic rights does not necessarily address questions such as which financial assets count as shared property or who should be named as a biological parent when a child is conceived by in vitro fertilization or via a surrogate. Nor does Ohio have standard procedures in place for the division of property and the payment of child support and/or spousal support when same-sex married people choose to end their relationships. 

Hiring a nontraditional family divorce attorney to negotiate a prenuptial agreement can prevent much heartbreak and legal wrangling. Even when a same-sex marriage lasts a lifetime, having a contract that spells out the roles and responsibilities of each partner will provide legal protection should someone else challenge a child’s parentage, try to deny power-of-attorney, or prevent a spouse from claiming insurance and retirement benefits. 

Likewise, working with an experienced and caring Dublin family law attorney is a must when concluding an adoption. Same-sex couples who decide to adopt rather than arrange for the conception of a child who carries their genes face no legal hurdles different from heterosexual couples, but those hurdles are high for everyone. 

Family Law Concerns for Never-Married Parents 

Biological parents have legal rights and obligations toward their children that are not affected by marriage. For instance, a father who never marries his child’s mother can object to an adoption, be ordered to pay child support, request custody, and seek visitations/parenting time. Should the mother marry or move in with someone else, the father of her child can then seek to modify previous orders regarding support and parenting time. 

Exercising paternal rights often means going to family court, even if only to convince the child’s mother or guardian to discuss matters. A judge’s ruling is always required to settle questions of permanent or shared custody, but the amounts and schedule of child support can be negotiated, as can visiting arrangements. Consulting with a Dublin nontraditional family attorney will help a never-married man or woman understand what needs to be done to assert and enforce their rights as a parent. 

No family law case is ever easy. Legal challenges faced by same-sex couples and never-married parents can be particularly difficult to navigate. You may find an indispensable guide and ally from within the legal team at Edward F. Whipps & Associates. Learn if we can help you by calling (614) 461-6006 or by reaching out to us online.



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