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In an era where lesbian, gay and transgender persons are working towards gaining more widespread acceptance of their lifestyles it would only make sense for the legal system to follow suit and honor their rights as parents of children. Fair and equal treatment under the law is what all citizens of the United States seek and these folks are no different.
With gay marriages now having been legalized for some time we as family law attorneys are starting to see cases involving same-sex and transgender parents entering into the family law courts with greater frequency. Parents of children that are LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender face some unique challenges within the legal system when it comes to courts honoring their right to custody and visitation of their children as well as in relation to establishing a legal relationship with their children first and foremost.
If you were ever in an opposite-sex marriage and filed for divorce based on your discovering that you were in fact LGBT.
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In the ensuing custody case, your spouse may have argued that because you are LGBT that is a factor that should be used against you when determining conservatorship. This is a dangerous argument to make because your spouse is effectively calling into question your character and parenting abilities because you have discovered that you are LGBT. As a result, you must counteract this sort of opinion evidence with evidence of your own.
On the other hand, you may be involved in a same-sex relationship that has seen itself end up in a separation. Heterosexual relationships do not have this sort of wrinkle in most cases. If you find yourself in this sort of position then you need to know that there are steps that you can take in order to protect your legal relationship with your .
This places you in the role of a second legally recognized parent of your. Usually, you see this when your spouse is the parent who actually gave birth to the child and is, therefore, a legal parent at birth. In Texas, you cannot be denied parental rights or conservatorship rights to your child simply because you are LGBT.
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All custody cases in Texas boil down to a determination over what is in the best interests of your. It is pd that absent sufficient evidence to the contrary it is in the best interests of every child in Texas to have a relationship with both of their parents.
This means that a judge cannot deny you these legal rights to your child simply because he or she does not approve of your lifestyle or sexual preferences. For instance, I would not advise you to agree to not live with a member of your sex or to bar a ificant other of yours for being present during visitation periods. It does not matter whether or not you think that you will ever actually be in a relationship. These sort of restrictions are overbearing and improper. Your sexual orientation does not have an effect on your ability to be a good parent.
A case fromIn the Interest of McElheneya mother and father appealed the termination of their parental rights. The argument from the mother was that the lower court had allowed testimony about her sexual orientation to negatively impact her ability to retain parental rights over her son. The appellate court agreed, noting that sexual orientation alone is insufficient grounds to terminate parental rights.
In a legal decision out of Ft. Worth, Z. The agreement was that the child shall not reside with the mother and a same-sex partner outside of a certain county. When the mother did move outside the county with a same-sex partner, she did so only after getting the permission of the father to do so on a temporary basis.
When the movement began to look more permanent than temporary, the father filed a motion to become the primary conservator of the. Getting back to a point we made earlier in this blog post, you should not agree to not live with a member of the same sex as a court would not order this unless it was shown that doing so would be harmful to the. Finally, in Jenkins v. Jenkinsa gay father was granted visitation rights in custody case. The mother won sole conservator rights while the father was granted only limited visitation rights. The trial court eventually expanded the visitation rights of the father despite no evidence that doing so was in the best interests of the.
Reading through the facts of this last case, there are several that are unique.
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First of all, the child, in this case, was very young and an expanded summer visitation period may not make sense or of that age. Furthermore, the father had exposed the child to a of harmful situations around the home that had put their safety in jeopardy.
That six month period must not have ended any more than 90 days before the filing date. Note that most courts do not require you to actually have lived with your child during this time period but that you must have had an actual role in parenting the .
The standard that you as a non-legal parent must prove to win custody rights is the same as any parent in your position. The key is that you must file your custody caseknown as a Suit Affecting the Parent-Child Relationshipas soon as you are able to in order to meet the time requirements stated above. As a parent, you understand how important and precious your relationship with your child is. As a result, you should know as much as you can about Texas family law to ensure that your rights are protected. We offer free of charge consultations with one of our d family law attorneys six days a week.
We can answer your questions and discuss with you the services that we can offer to you as a client of ours. Unfortunately, family law cases involve one parent making allegations of substance abuse against the other parent. In some Deciding to hire a family law attorney for your divorce or child custody case is probably the most ificant step that you will Family courts in Texas are overburdened with cases. Unique circumstances and legal issues face LGBT families and parents Parents of children that are LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender face some unique challenges within the legal system when it comes to courts honoring their right to custody and visitation of their children as well as in relation to establishing a legal relationship with their children first and foremost.
Hodges, U. Related Posts. Oct 12 The effect of substance abuse on child custody determinations Unfortunately, family law cases involve one parent making allegations of substance abuse against the other parent. First Name Please first name. Last Name Please last name. Phone Please phone. This isn't a valid phone. This isn't a valid address.
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