Child Custody With Same-Sex Relationships: What To Expect

Posted on: 20 October 2021


Same-sex couples have different circumstances than heterosexual couples when it comes to child conception, and as such, these varied circumstances often roll over into child custody agreements. Yes, there is a way to reach an amicable agreement in this situation, but it is helpful to understand some of the complexities that may present themselves. 

Child Conception

One of the first factors that will affect custody is when the child was conceived. Similar to heterosexual couples, the court will often examine the history of the person who wants custody of the child. Generally, if the child was conceived, even if by artificial means, before the relationship, gaining custody from the biological parent can be a challenge. 

However, if the child was conceived during the relationship, again, even if by artificial means, the non-biological parent will likely have a much better chance at equal rights. 

Legal Status

If you were married or a long-term partner, your legal status in regards to the child will weigh heavily on the outcome of a request for child custody. Non-biological parents who went through the channels to adopt the child that was conceived during the relationship often have a much easier time, since, legally, the child is equally theirs.

If you did not adopt the child, and your partner was their biological and legal guardian, all hope is not lost. However, the court will likely require that you prove your role as a parent in the child's life, such as financial or from a caretaker standpoint. Additionally, if there is not an agreement with the other biological parent, that was not a part of the relationship, their wants concerning the child's custody could also come into play, which could put you last in line.

State Laws

The world is ever-evolving, but it is important to understand that concerning LGBTQ parents, these changes are not always occurring at the same rate across state lines. It is critical to familiarize yourself with the local laws in your area. For example, in some states, there is no legal guideline in place that allows the non-biological parent of a child conceived during a same-sex marriage to perform a second-parent adoption and become a legal parent. 

As such, a person in this situation who wants to declare themselves the child's parent, legally, for the purpose of custody could face a challenge. An attorney is especially helpful in this scenario.

Speak with an attorney if you are in this type of situation to determine what to expect and your best path forward. You can also check out sites like to learn more.