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Same-Sex Child Custody in Texas
Establishing and Protecting Parental Rights
When a heterosexual couple has a child, whether the couple is married or unmarried, Texas law provides a fairly well-defined procedure for fathers and mothers to establish their rights. Same-sex partners, however, face a more unpredictable legal procedure as they work to establish rights to a child born during their relationship.
The Dallas law firm of O'Neil & Attorneys is led by Michelle May O'Neil, one of Texas' leading advocates on family law issues affecting the LGBT community. Ms. O'Neil has more than 20 years of experience handling child custody issues, including many cases on behalf of clients involved in same-sex custody disputes. As a firm, our goal is to help our gay and lesbian clients understand their custody options, then develop a strategic plan to achieve their goals.
If you have questions about asserting your parental rights as a gay or lesbian individual, our Dallas same-sex custody lawyers can help you find answers. To arrange a consultation, call 972- 499-4558 or toll free 866-959-4330. You can also contact our Dallas law office online.
The State of the Law on Same-Sex Custody Matters in Texas
The issue of same-sex child custody has been the subject of many court cases around the state of Texas. The main question in these cases concerns whether the emotional but non-biological parent of a child has any parental rights. For example, if a lesbian couple has a child, and both partners take an active role in the child's life, what happens when the couple divorces or the domestic partnership ends? Does the non-birth partner have any rights regarding the child?
Unfortunately, Texas law is far from clear on this point. Some courts say that the non-parent has no rights. Other courts will grant rights in situations where the non-parent had a healthy, active relationship with the child. This is the sort of uncertainty that our Dallas family law attorneys try to help our clients cope with. What, then, is the best way to ensure rights for a non-biological parent?
Adoption as a Solution
When one parent is biological and the other is not, it is crucial to create legal recognition of both parents' rights. The best way to accomplish this is by having the non-biological parent officially adopt the child. Then, in the event of dissolution of the relationship, both parents will have access to their children the same way other divorced parents do. Parental agreement will be required for the adoption.
Contact a Dallas Same-Sex Custody and Adoption Attorney
If you have questions about your parental rights following the termination of a same-sex relationship, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. To arrange a consultation, please call 972- 499-4558 or toll free 866-959-4330. You can also contact our Dallas law office online.