Can Being LGBTQ Affect Your Child Custody Battle?
Over the past decade in California, LGBTQ parents have gained many rights not enjoyed by those in other states. Although the system is still not perfect, strides have been made to protect the rights of LGBTQ parents who have raised a child from birth or through adoption. California Supreme Court rulings have granted LGBTQ parents the same rights heterosexual parents enjoy in the areas of child custody, visitation, and child support.
If you are an LGBTQ parent seeking custody and visitation rights over your child, it is essential to speak with an experienced child custody attorney as soon as possible to discuss the complex issues that may be involved in your case. Contact Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. at (858) 458-9500. Attorney Thomas M. Huguenor is a Certified Family Law Specialist with a proven track record for more than 35 years.
Child Custody Law In California Does Not Discriminate
In the state of California, child custody cases involving LGBTQ parents are to be treated equally under the law to child custody cases involving opposite-sex parents. To determine a custodial arrangement in the best interests of the child, the courts rely on Section 3011 of the California Family Code. If you believe you are experiencing discrimination in the family court system, contact an experienced San Diego family law attorney right away.
What the Courts Consider in Determining Child Custody
In child custody matters, the primary concern of the courts is the best interests of the child. In determining custody arrangements, family law judges consider several factors, including the following:
- Child’s health, safety, and welfare
- Any history of abuse by either parent or person seeking custody
- Nature and amount of child’s contact with both parents
- Habitual and continual use of illegal drugs, alcohol, or prescribed controlled substances by either parent
If allegations against either parent of abuse or habitual drug or alcohol use have been brought to the attention of the court in the proceedings, and the court grants sole or joint custody to the parent against whom the allegations were made, the court must state its reasons for doing so in writing on the record.
What Is the Child Custody Process for LGBTQ Parents?
The child custody process for LGBTQ parents should be substantially the same as the process for opposite-sex couples. Bear in mind that if you and the other parent can agree on a custody arrangement in writing out of court, you can file that agreement with the court and eliminate the need to have a judge decide the matter. In this case, it is still essential to consult with an experienced child custody attorney to ensure your parental rights are protected in the agreement.
If you cannot come to an agreement with the other parent and are seeking custody through the court, you will need to file paperwork stating why you should be granted custody and visitation and attend a hearing (or hearings) to decide the matter. As family law courts always focus on the best interests of the child, it is important to frame your arguments to show that the custodial arrangement you are proposing is the better arrangement for your child.
Our experienced San Diego Child Custody Attorney at Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. can help ensure your case is presented in the most effective manner possible. Call us as soon as possible if you are an LGBTQ parent needing legal assistance in a child custody battle.