There is no question about it, divorce is stressful. With that said, it may be even more stressful depending on where you live and your family’s situation. If, for example, you are an individual who is separating from a partner with whom you share children and are in a same-sex relationship, the state where you live can determine the clarity of your understanding of what to expect.
Marriage equality has existed in the United States from a federal level since 2015, but inconsistencies surrounding family laws still remain on a state-by-state basis. For this reason, you may have questions about Washington’s laws when it comes to same-sex relationships and child custody considerations.
Washington has an updated parentage act
Although the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized marriage equality throughout the country in 2015, many states have been slow to update relevant family laws over the past six years. This includes parentage acts that determine child custody in the event of a legal separation. Unlike these states, however, Washington made early changes to its parentage laws to include same-sex partnership considerations as far back as 2011.
Clear language enables equal legal considerations
Because of Washington’s ahead-of-schedule inclusion of domestic partnership language in both the establishment of parent-child relationships as well as marital presumptions of parentage, the law enables equal legal considerations in a straightforward manner. Furthermore, there are holding out, de facto and surrogacy provisions in the law that include unique family situations that often occur within same-sex households.
While some state laws remain unclear on child custody in same-same separations, that is not the case in Washington. Knowing your rights and understanding the law can ensure that you receive the equal treatment that you deserve.