Same-Sex Child Custody/Support
Bethesda Attorneys Helping LGBTQ Clients and Their Children
Protecting the rights of lesbian and gay parents in Montgomery County
Members of the LGBTQ community can now marry and divorce with the same legal rights as straight couples, with some exceptions. One of those exceptions is child custody. The laws are the same once parenthood is established, but establishing parenthood can raise different issues than it is does for heterosexual couples. Even when parenthood is confirmed, there are still same practical differences in how custody is handled for same-sex couples that must be addressed.
The Bethesda same-sex custody lawyers at McCabe Russell, PA provide consistent, comprehensive support for clients throughout Montgomery County faced with important decisions about their children and their futures. We make sure to protect your child’s best interests, and to secure a better and brighter future for both of you.
What are the rules for establishing same-sex parenthood in Maryland?
The first step in any custody proceeding is confirming parenthood. In custody disputes between straight parents, parenthood is generally established by examining the birth certificate, adoption records, and by using DNA tests.
This posed a problem for some same-sex couples who had not pursued second-parent adoption. Second parent adoption allowed the non-biological parent to be listed on the birth certificate of the child, even when marriage was not a legal option. Some couples still choose – and should choose – to pursue this.
In a 2016 Court of Appeals decision, Maryland created new parenthood rights. The case held that some same-sex parents could be legally called “de facto parents.” In Conover v. Conover, the Court ruled that in order to establish de facto parenthood, “the legal parent must consent to and foster the relationship between the third party and the child; the third party must have lived with the child; the third party must perform parental functions for the child to a significant degree; and most important, a parent-child bond must be forged.”
Questions about child custody and other related factors
Once parenthood is established, there are still many legal concerns that we address for our clients. We create custom strategies tailored to your needs, and designed to help protect your children. The following are some questions and answers regarding child custody for Bethesda families:
Q: What is legal custody?
A: This is the authority to make long-term decisions for the children, such as where the child goes to school, how medical problems are handled, and the child’s religion.
Q: What is physical custody?
A: This is the agreement or decision as to where the child lives each day and who has responsibility for the daily care of the child.
Q: What is the difference between shared and sole custody? Both legal and physical custody can be shared by the parents. Alternatively, one parent can be given sole legal and/or sole physical custody.
Q: Which parent will have visitation rights? Where physical custody is not shared, the parent who does not have physical custody is normally entitled to visit with child on a regular basis.
- Is it possible to change support orders? Montgomery family courts do not change custody orders or parenting plan agreements unless there is a significant change in circumstance. Moving to another state or a change in the health of a parent or child may be considered significant changes.
- How is child support calculated in Maryland? Each parent has a duty to provide his/her child with financial support. Child support is based on the incomes of each parent and the number of children. There are some other factors our lawyers review, such as which health insurance policy covers the child and providing for travel expenses from one parent to the other.
When the parents are able to work together, we prepare parenting plans that spell out the rights and obligations of each parent.
Types of Cases We Handle
Our Bethesda attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:
Fighting for the best possible outcomes for clients in Montgomery County
At McCabe Russell, PA, we explain your rights, understand your priorities, and then fight aggressively to establish the proper legal boundaries for you, your child, and the other parent. At every level, we advise same-sex clients that the best interests of the child are paramount. For clear guidance and strong counsel, please call 443-812-1435 or fill out our contact form to make an appointment.
6701 Democracy One Plaza Loop,
Bethesda, Maryland, 20817
Phone: (301) 888-6945