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Florida Family Law

Parental Rights of Same-Sex Partners

Child Support Myths


By David Roberts | Family Law Attorney
Posted on February 22, 2018

Over the years, same-sex couples have fought for equal rights when it comes to marriage and starting a family. It is now much more common to see same-sex couples begin family units that involve children, either from a previous heterosexual relationship or children born during their relationship. Sometimes the children are conceived by one of the partners through artificial methods or the children may be adopted by the couple.

Although more states have begun recognizing same-sex marriages and unions, not all courts have the experience to determine proper child support or child custody for same-sex parents who decide to divorce or separate. This article provides a brief explanation of the basic rules regarding the parental rights of same-sex partners.

If Only One Individual is the Legal Parent

Child Support

Many same-sex couples run into specific complications in regards to child support. Some courts feel that a parent who starts a family with a same-sex partner with intentions of raising the child in a two-parent household should be responsible for paying child support. When the parties are married or if the minor child has been adopted, then the issue of child support is more clear.


When it comes to custody and visitation, some courts will see parents who do not adopt their partner’s children as “non-parents.” For this reason, non-biological parent’s in same-sex relationships should consider adopting their partner’s child. Should a custody battle take place, having a legal relationship with the child will help show the courts you’re serious about being the child’s parent, biological or not.

Other factors the courts consider regarding adoption for same-sex couples include:

  • Consent from the biological parent
  • The emotional connection between the “non-biological” parent and the child
  • Financial support of the child
  • Whether the parties are married

When Both Individuals Are Legal Parents

Both partners should have equal legal rights to the child if the following rules apply:

  • If the child is born in a state that gives rights to a non-biological parent who is either in a marriage, a registered domestic partnership, or a civil union with the biological parent.
  • The child is adopted through a second-parent or stepparent adoption by the non-biological or non-adoptive parent.
  • Both parents jointly adopted the child.

If both parents are found to have equal legal rights, child-related disputes in same-sex divorces should be handled in the same manner as in heterosexual divorces.

Before making any decisions about what you should do in regards to your divorce or separation where children are involved, get advice from a family law attorney who is familiar with the Florida state laws and local judges. It’s important to do what’s right both morally and legally, for the best interest of the child. To arrange a consultation, contact The Roberts Family Law Firm today by calling 407-426-6999.


Orlando Family Law Attorney David Roberts

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