Increased Legal Rights of Gay and Lesbian Couples
It is apparent that public opinion concerning gay and lesbian marriages is changing throughout America. Though there is still a minority of states that have legalized gay and lesbian marriages, the future will probably see more states and courts legalizing such marriages. This is true especially in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decisions regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) and the Proposition 8 amendment in California. These cases attracted the attention of many Utah family law attorneys. Because the high court struck down DOMA and refused to rule on the Proposition 8 amendment, it is possible national legalized lesbian and gay marriages are only a few years away.
Same Sex Couples and Child Custody in Utah
Even though states and courts have taken action increasing the marriage rights of gay and lesbian couples, the Utah legislature and Utah courts have not followed the increasing trend. Utah family law attorneys have attempted to increase the legal rights of gay and lesbian couples without success. A problem that arises, because Utah law does not recognize gay and lesbian marriages, is when the couple splits up. This is especially evident when it comes to child custody determinations.
A 2007 Utah Supreme Court case, Jones v. Barlow, ruled that in a child custody dispute between same sex partners, the non-biological or non-legal parent, has no right to visitation rights to the child. This means when a same sex couple has a child in Utah, the law only recognizes one person as the parent. If the couple splits up, it is very possible the non-legal parent will have no right to ever see the child again. This child custody problem can be avoided if the same sex couple are both the legal parents of the child. Though this cannot be achieved in Utah, many other states allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. If both individuals in a homosexual couple are the legal parents of a child, then a Utah court will apply the standards of child custody disputes of heterosexual couples to the homosexual couple fighting over custody and parent time.
Utah Family Law Lawyers Helping in Child Custody Disputes
The Utah family law lawyers from the Salcido Law Firm can help all couples whether they are straight, gay, or lesbian. We are dedicated Utah family law lawyers that assist all individuals in their child custody disputes in the Ogden, Salt Lake, Provo, and St. George Areas. If you have a case in Utah, we have an attorney for you. Call us at 801.618.1331 or email us today if you are seeking to hire a lawyer for your child custody case.