Same-sex marriage is legal in Arizona. This means that same-sex couples who choose to marry will also have the right to divorce, which affords them legal protection in terms of property division and spousal support. However, unless both partners are legal parents of the child or children, there will be additional complications with respect to custody and parenting time in the event of a separation.
Unmarried parents who choose to separate may also face challenges with respect to custody. Unless paternity has been established, a biological father has no legal right to custody, and is not obligated to pay child support. If you and your partner have children and are considering a formal separation, you should consult a lawyer who is familiar with the laws relating to unmarried and cohabiting couples: not all family law attorneys will be capable of assisting you.
At Lasiter & Jackson, we represent unmarried same-sex and heterosexual couples who require family law counsel in Arizona. Our Phoenix attorneys are very experienced in these matters, and will help you understand how current law applies to your particular situation and your best options. We are always straightforward and honest with our assessments but are also compassionate and understanding to your unique needs.
Essentially, Section 25-409 allows third-party individuals to seek both child custody (legal decision-making authority) and visitation rights. Same-sex parents and unmarried fathers could seek such rights using in loco parentis. This is a legal term meaning a person who acts in place of the parent. Many times this status is used by a grandparent or a close family member and even a close family friend, but it is also useful to unmarried parents.
We can help you either contest or seek child custody and parenting time rights as a parent in a cohabiting relationship. Every situation is different so it is important that you talk to one of our lawyers about your case so that we can advise you toward the best options going forward.
Our Phoenix law firm remains dedicated to providing strong advocacy for same-sex couples throughout Arizona. We believe in providing compassionate and experienced family law counsel for all and can help you seek custody rights. Contact our Phoenix law office today to schedule an appointment.