LGBT Child Custody and Visitation
Being a parent today is no longer based on a man-woman, husband-wife model. Courts continue to wrestle with the concept of non-parents seeking custody and visitation with children, following divorce or termination of a relationship.
In 2000, the United States Supreme Court addressed this issue in Troxel v. Granville. Justice O’Connor said this about the changes in American families, “[T]he demographic changes of the past century make it difficult to speak of an average American family. The composition of families varies greatly from household to household.”
The Florida Courts have made clear that a parent’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to custody and visitation unless the parent’s sexual orientation directly harms the child. The Florida Supreme Court has not expressly addressed the issue of sexual orientation in a child custody determination, however, many Florida lower courts have followed a Florida Supreme Court decision which addressed the “moral fitness” of an adulterous mother, and have held that a parent’s sexual orientation is not relevant to child custody unless there is direct evidence of harm to the child.
To learn more about the emerging body of case law addressing custody and visitation rights of the non-legal parent and innovative and creative ways in which you can be helped in maintaining a parental status with your non-biological and non-adoptive child, contact a Jacksonville, Florida Family Law Attorney.