The start of a new school year can produce stress and anxiety for children and parents alike. This can be especially true for those parents in a same-sex relationship or marriage. While American society, particularly in states like California, has come a long way in accepting same-sex relationships, couples with children often still face many challenges.
The divorce of a prominent gay couple recently resulted in a unique child custody arrangement related to the couple's fraternal twins. David Tutera is a television personality best known for hosting a reality show in which he helps couple's plan their dream wedding. More recently, however, the television personality is best known for being involved in a divorce from his partner of 10 years and a custody battle over the couple's twins.
We've previously written in this blog about some of the unique circumstances facing same-sex couples who split-up or divorce. Matters related to child custody, visitation and child support are often less clearly defined in same-sex splits and divorces. A recent appealette court decision in one state may provide clues as to how similar matters related to child custody and child support will be handled in other states like California.
Conflicts may arise when couples who have been married or in a long-term committed relationship divorce or part ways. When a couple has children together, importan matters related to child custody, child support and visitation rights must be sorted out and decided upon. In many cases, such matters are emotionally charged with both parents seeking to protect their custody rights.
In recent years there has been much social and political debate over marriage and the right to marry. While some within the country have fought to maintain the legal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court now allows same-sex couples to legally marry and enjoy the same benefits marriage provided to opposite-sex couples for years.
More and more states are legalizing same-sex marriage. The total is now up to eleven states. California has not legalized same-sex marriage but the Supreme Court did recently hear a case regarding the constitutionality of the state's Proposition 8, which banned gay couples from getting married.
A few weeks ago we discussed the two cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court dealing with the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. But as millions of Americans await the decision, many people wonder how the Court will interpret the issue of same-sex parenting since the Court has never heard a case dealing with a gay parent.
Unmarried parents may have a different experience with child custody matters than married parents. Although California advocates that the parent-child relationship should not be hindered by the lack of a marriage, parents who were never married still miss that additional legal recognition of parentage.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to take up the issue of gay marriage, and will review the constitutionality of both the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's ban on gay marriage in the current term. DOMA defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. DOMA affects federal benefits, including taxes. And even though nine states and the District of Columbia now have legal gay marriage, under DOMA, same-sex couples still aren't allowed to file a joint federal tax return.
California same-sex couples may be interested to read about a recent ruling from a judge in Iowa. Although Californian's may have different concerns regarding unmarried parenting than same-sex couples in states that have legalized gay marriage, all monumental decisions regarding this issue may factor into how California proceeds. Iowa allows same-sex couples can legally marry but until recently, the legal recognition of the relationship didn't necessarily eliminate child custody issues.