One of the most important aspects of any divorce proceeding is who is going to retain custody of the children. For opposite-sex Colorado divorces, there are rules that have been applied and defined over the years that create settled expectations. However, as more and more same-sex couples get legally married in other states, there is a question as to how Colorado law will treat these relationships.
As a starting point, the State of Colorado does not consider same-sex marriages entered into in other states to be legally binding in Colorado. So if a same-sex couple who was married outside the state splits up while in Colorado, Colorado law will apply and will not recognize their marriage.
This can lead to situations where, if the parents had been of the opposite sex, the law would be settled. However, since the couple is a same-sex couple, the law is unsettled. This creates a difficult situation for same-sex couples because there is no way to know what to expect when splitting up.
Seeking Custody in Colorado
In Colorado, the statute (Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 19) that defines who can seek custody of a child and how they can go about doing it lists different rules for different people. For example, a child’s “parent” must only file a petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation. On the other hand, a non-parent must file a petition seeking parental responsibilities, which may only be granted if the child is not currently residing with a parent or has been residing with the individual for at least the last 182 days.
These laws were not written–and have not yet been interpreted–to deal with the termination of a same-sex relationship when children are involved.
Problems Arising for Same-Sex Parents
The problem for same-sex parents is in determining which category the parents fall into. Normal laws governing who a “parent” is may or may not apply in the context of a same-sex marriages and civil unions. In fact, this area of law is still quite gray and is in need of clarification by the courts.
Suffice it to say that if you are in a same-sex relationship and have a child, and you anticipate your relationship will soon be ending, you should speak with a dedicated Colorado family law attorney to do all that you can in advance to make sure that you end up being treated fairly.
Are You in Need of an Attorney?
If you are in any relationship that is in the process of ending, and there are children involved, make sure that you consult with a dedicated family law attorney as soon as possible. When couples break up, emotions and tempers often run hot, and unwary people can find themselves in an uncomfortable or undesirable situation rather quickly. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Contact the Colorado family law firm of Plog & Stein, PC. The skilled family law attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C. have years of experience in varying family law matters and know what it takes to successfully represent a client from beginning to end. Call 303-781-0322 to speak to an attorney today.