Columbus Adoption And Shared Child Custody Lawyer

court with people

Establishing Adoption, Parentage And Shared Child Custody Arrangements

One of the most challenging aspects of a divorce or a dissolution can be figuring out how to allocate parenting time between parents.

As a veteran family law attorney in central Ohio, I have been helping parents intelligently navigate the Ohio family courts for more than 30 years. At the law offices of Carol Ann Fey, I work with clients throughout Franklin County to come to an agreement with their former spouse or partner. An agreement is preferable because the domestic courts sometimes allocate parental time and support in ways that leave both parents upset and unsatisfied.

My family law practice concentrates on helping clients identify and agree to an arrangement that satisfies both parents and serves the best interests of the children, whether by negotiation or collaborative law. If all else fails, I am prepared to utilize the court system to seek the best outcome possible.

Adoption And Parentage Opportunities And Challenges Facing Same-Sex Couples

When lesbian and gay couples add children to their families, their treatment under Ohio law is different depending on whether the couple is married before they add children, marries after they have children, or chooses not to marry.

Couples who marry and who had children together prior to their marriage can establish the second spouse as an equal parent through a second-parent adoption. Couples who marry first and then have children can get a birth certificate with both spouses listed as parents, but should also strongly consider formalizing the second parent’s legal relationship with a parentage court order, so that they have a judgment that will be recognized everywhere in addition to their administrative birth certificate.

For couples who choose not to marry and those who had children before their marriage and have not yet done a second-parent adoption, Ohio recognizes only one of them as a parent (until adoption is done after marriage). Under current Ohio law, an unmarried couple cannot adopt a child together and cannot use adoption laws to establish both of them as parents of their children. With appropriate planning, however, there are excellent opportunities to protect even unmarried LGBT families and their children.

In the best-case scenario, unmarried same-sex couples establish shared custody arrangements while their relationship is intact. As in any situation, the best and least expensive planning is done well in advance of any legal problems, while partners share the same goals for their family and look forward to a lifetime of parenting their children together. By legally establishing a relationship between children and their nonbiological parent or nonadoptive parent, LGBT couples can ensure that they will both be able to enjoy a relationship with their children throughout their lifetimes, even if the parents end their relationship at some point.

When clients do not have a shared-custody agreement in place and a relationship ends, LGBT partners who did not give birth to or adopt their children can face challenges to their custody and visitation rights. I help LGBT clients establish custody and visitation rights over their children from LGBT relationships by establishing shared custody agreements.

Without such an agreement, the parent will have to petition the court or gain the agreement of the former partner to establish parental rights.

I Handle Same-Sex Adoptions And Negotiate Shared Child Custody Arrangements

Carol and baby

When your relationship with your children is at stake, an Ohio family lawyer who is experienced in establishing and enforcing shared custody arrangements can make a world of difference. Using my knowledge of Ohio family law and extensive representation of LGBT clients over the past 30 years, I can help you maintain your relationship with your children.

For help identifying the next steps in adoption and shared child custody matters, call me at 614-221-0944, or send me an email using the online form.