Lifting the ban: how will it affect child custody and adoption?

Lifting the ban: how will it affect child custody and adoption?

In last week’s blog post, we explained how a decision made in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals changed how North Carolinians defined marriage recently. By lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Virginia, the 4th Circuit Court forced other states within its jurisdiction to consider doing the same.

But on top of providing same-sex couples with the opportunity to marry in North Carolina, the circuit court decision raised an important question that still needs to be addressed in our state: how will lifting the ban affect child custody cases and adoptions?

When the ban was in place, same-sex couples faced many legal roadblocks when it came to adoption and child custody. When it came to adoption, because same-sex marriages weren’t recognized by the state, homosexual couples were barred from second-parent adoptions, which gave parental rights to a second parent while retaining the parental rights of the first parent.

When it came to child custody, issues were greater. Many same-sex couples had to worry about what their parental rights were or if they had any at all. Many more were concerned with how the ban affected their ability to add their child to their partner’s health insurance and how the state would handle custody in the event that the child’s biological parent passed away.

Even though lifting the ban appears to have made same-sex marriage easier in our state, the same may not be true with child custody and adoption issues. There is still that unknown about how the courts will handle these cases, especially considering the state of our current laws.

Are current laws adequate enough to handle the complex issues that often face same-sec couples or will changes need to be made? It’s a question some of our readers hope will have an answer before the year is out.

Source: The News Observer, “Gay couples in NC seek legal adoption as marriages continue,” Anne Blythe, Oct. 13, 2014

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