The new millennium has brought with it some considerable changes to our society. One of the most significant changes has been in marital equality and gender identification. While this change has been long coming, it brings with it a new set of norms to be defined. In the case of same-sex marriages, surrogate parents and changing genders, child custody cases have become a complicated muddle of issues to redefine. Judges deciding the custody of a child must now re-evaluate their previous definition of a family, a parent and the best interests of the children brought before them.
This issue recently played out in New York where a child custody case developed involving four individual parents. A gay male couple donated sperm to a lesbian couple with the intent that the child born would be shared equally among both couples. In less than a year, the arrangement buckled and a child custody battle began. Not only did the case require consideration of four parents, but it also demanded that the judge deciding the case set a precedent for what is sure to become a more common situation in the future.
Only one male from the gay couple donated sperm, and only one of the females of the lesbian couple actually gave birth to the child. Because both couples were legally married, all four had parental rights to the child. To make matters even more complicated, both couples worked hard to provide the child with a stable environment between the two households by taking up residence in matching apartments that were furnished and decorated identically. Their plan was to share custody by having the child live with each family on a quarterly schedule. When the arrangement fell apart, the couples were left with a bitter dispute to settle.
Child custody lawyers and judges have had the task of redefining societal norms foisted on them at a time when the norms for marital equality and gender identification have yet to be fully realized. Wherein mothers were generally awarded primary custody of children in the majority of cases in the past, this is not the situation with many cases brought before the court in the most recent decade. Many fathers are becoming stay-at-home parents and primary caregivers for their children, offering both the most stable environment and loving home for their children. In some cases, the mother has changed genders and become the second father in the family, which opens up a proverbial can of worms when awarding custody based on gender.
While every child custody case is decided with the best interests of the child in mind, new societal expectations and values are calling for judges to be more objective and reasonable in their decisions. It’s not an easy task or quick fix situation. As more and more of this type of case comes before the courts, each decision will help create the new definition of family and parents in our society.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles LLC Facilitate Child Custody Arrangements for Modern Families
Child custody arrangements are one of the most stressful aspects to determine in divorce proceedings. Emotions run high and keeping the best interest of the child as the top priority can be difficult. If you or someone you know is considering a divorce where children are involved, the experienced team of Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles LLC can help you find the best solution for your family.
Call us at 443-589-0150, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our office is located in Hunt Valley, Maryland allowing us to serve clients in Cockeysville, Lutherville Timonium, Upper Falls, Phoenix, Ridgewood, Sparks Glencoe, Towson, Brooklandville, Butler, Stevenson, Glyndon, Monkton, Reisterstown, Pikesville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Boring, Glen Arm, Upperco, Hydes, and Baltimore County.