Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Risky Experiments in Child Custody Arrangements for Same-Sex Couples

The traditional child custody scheme arose when two adults married, entered into a divorce, and then had to decide the type of custody (e.g. joint physical custody) and visitation schedule. However, in the 2000s, a shift away from the traditional nuclear family began. Today, nuclear families account for only 24.1% of American families. Other family structures are now more prevalent. These include single-parent households, unmarried parents with children, and multi-parent households. A new form of family arrangement that has recently begun gaining traction involves same-sex couples.

The state of Mississippi does not permit adoption by same-sex couples, though single LGBT parents are permitted to adopt. To get around this law, many same-sex couples have begun experimenting with some highly unusual and often problematic parenting arrangements.

One new method of child custody occurs when a same-sex couple desires to have a biologically related child. In order to do so, they must seek an outside individual to act as either a surrogate or sperm donor.  Previously, many same-sex couples used third party donation clinics to facilitate this process, essentially compensating an individual who agreed to help in the conception and/or pregnancy. However, many same-sex couples have now entered into arrangements with individuals they know regarding sharing custody of the child. For instance, a male couple sought the assistance of a close sister, who was also interested in raising a child. One of the males provided the sperm for artificial insemination, the sister carried the child to term, and then the male couple and sister shared joint custody of the child. A schedule was agreed upon in advance in which the baby was to spend half of each week with each respective parent. However, after a falling out regarding different parenting styles, the sister sought sole custody as the biological mother of the child. The young toddler was then forced to endure a lengthy and emotionally traumatic custody dispute.

Another method pairs two same-sex couples in pursuit of the same thing – a  child. A male same-sex couple and a female same-sex couple pair together to conceive and raise a child. These couples generally know each other quite well and agree on custody, visitation schedules, medical care, education, and all other aspects of custody prior to conceiving. In one case, the two couples bought side-by-side condos. They decorated the condos identically with the same paint, wallpaper, decorations, furniture, toys, and more to help the baby feel more at home. The couples split the year into quarters and agreed to swap custody at the end of each quarter. Because they lived next door, the other couple was never far away and could visit if permitted by the couple with visitation rights for that quarter. However, the agreement became problematic for the couples. First, the parenting styles widely differed, resulting in frequent clashes. Second, the quarterly schedule caused the couples to miss important milestones in the child’s life. Third, the quarterly schedule also took away from crucial developmental time with each parent. The arrangement therefore created problems for both the couples and the child.

Devising a child custody arrangement as a same-sex couple can be difficult. To avoid future problems, the easiest route to take is to find someone who is willing to relinquish all parental rights. However, if you wish to enter into an alternative custody agreement like the ones mentioned above, it is best to work alongside a skilled Mississippi child custody attorney to discuss your options and draft a legally sound contract.

To schedule a free initial appointment with a Mississippi Child Custody Attorney, call Matthew S. Poole now at (601) 573-7429.


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Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses Risky Experiments in Child Custody Arrangements for Same-Sex Couples
Mississippi Child Custody Attorney discusses risky endeavors pertaining to child custody arrangements made by same sex couples.