Can't legally get married... - Mothering Forums
Blended and Step Family Parenting > Can't legally get married...
wemoon's Avatar wemoon 04:44 PM 04-27-2010
... thus my partner cannot have any custodial rights to my children. I'm in a same-sex relationship, just bought a home together and am now thinking about how to give my partner the right to be a legal guardian. The kids' dad still has legal custody, but we have not had any contact with him in almost 5 years. Is there any way to work through this? If I were to die or something horrible happened to me, I would want my partner to have my kids, not their "sperm donor."

mtiger's Avatar mtiger 05:03 PM 04-27-2010
You could set up a "stand-by" guardianship, but Dad would trump that when/if he wanted custody. It's also likely that any family with status to petition would, as well. Sorry.
Pineapple Head's Avatar Pineapple Head 05:19 PM 04-27-2010
Perhaps you could talk to the dad and see if he would legally give up custody, then have your partner legally appointed gaurdian in your will?
Super~Single~Mama 05:22 PM 04-27-2010
I would consult a lawyer. That sounds like a really complicated situation and you won't get accurate information from strangers online. Find a lawyer that has experience with custody issues, and termination of parental rights (b/c in order for your kids' dad to not have custody his rights would need to be terminated - which can be a complicated matter).

ETA - even getting married to your partner would not make it so that they have legal rights to your children. your kids' dad's parental rights would still have to be terminated, and your kids adopted by your partner.
WTHamI?'s Avatar WTHamI? 05:43 PM 04-27-2010
I agree that your best bet is to consult a lawyer, however the reality is that most likely there's nothing you can do unless the kids' biological father is willing to give up his rights. I don't think that's specific to you being in a same-sex relationship either. In most cases even if someone has remarried, if something happened to the mother and the biological father wanted the kids, the court is not going to give primary custody to a step-parent over a biological parent unless the biodad is deemed unfit. As others have said, talk to a lawyer, but you may not have the kind of options you're hoping for.
Mummoth's Avatar Mummoth 07:42 PM 04-27-2010
My custody agreement is written up so that in the event of my death guardianship/custody is transferred to my mom. Maybe something like that would work for you?
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 07:50 PM 04-27-2010
Originally Posted by Pineapple Head View Post
Perhaps you could talk to the dad and see if he would legally give up custody, then have your partner legally appointed gaurdian in your will?

This is what I would do too. Besides, even if you were legally married, he'd still get sole custody if something should happen to you.

I hope he'd be willing to at least consider this. Five years is a long time not to (seemingly) care.
PoppyMama's Avatar PoppyMama 12:25 AM 04-28-2010
I'm in the same boat and am married to a man. It's a source of major stress in my life and the only idea I have is to get a good size life insurance policy and put my husband as beneficiary so that he will have support if he can keep the kids or spend a fortune fighting for custody if he doesn't.
DirtRoadMama's Avatar DirtRoadMama 12:34 PM 04-29-2010
Ya'll can come on over to Iowa and get married here! I'll even let you stay here with me for a night so you don't have the cost of a hotel for your trip.

Otherwise, from what I've been able to find, custody tends to fall to the other genetic parent. You'll need a court order and a will to state that your partner should get guardianship. Their dad doesn't have to give up any parental rights, just the obligation to take them should something happen to you. (Well, that's how I would phrase it when you broach the subject with him.)

Oh, and the offer for a place to crash if you want to visit my lovely State and obtain a marriage license is totally serious.
violet_'s Avatar violet_ 01:20 PM 04-29-2010
I feel for you, and I think you should be able to marry the person you choose. In this case, though, that's a separate issue, as being married wouldn't help for this particular problem. I'm a stepmom and my rights to my stepchildren are nonexistent. Marriage is irrelevant for that, unfortunately.
wemoon's Avatar wemoon 01:49 PM 04-29-2010
Gah. I hate this part of life. Why can't I just say what I want and be able to have it go that way???

We have talked about talking with a lawyer, so we should probably just get going on it.
PoppyMama's Avatar PoppyMama 03:25 PM 04-29-2010
If you can get the dad to give up rights you might be able to have your partner adopt your children. That's the only sure fire way to ensure that they will stay with her if something happens to you. I can't get the bio to give up rights...
phrogger's Avatar phrogger 05:46 PM 04-29-2010
Depending where you are, you can do a step parent adoption and you just have to make an effort to contact the other biological parent. You will need to talk to an attorney about this, but my husband and I are trying to get an attorney to do that ourselves with my step son. I know there are quite a few states that same sex couples can do the step parent adoptions, and really, you can prove abandonment from the other parent.
singin'intherain's Avatar singin'intherain 10:57 PM 04-29-2010
Originally Posted by DirtRoadMama View Post
Ya'll can come on over to Iowa and get married here! I'll even let you stay here with me for a night so you don't have the cost of a hotel for your trip.
Yay Iowa!~ You make me smile
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 12:13 AM 04-30-2010
Sorry to crash the forum, I saw this in new posts.

If he has had no contact in 5 years, could you have his rights terminated? That would allow you to pursue step parent adoption. If, for whatever reason, you can't do stepparent adoption after his rights have been terminated, you could still write a will and appoint your partner as legal guardian.

But it sounds to me like you're going to need a lawyer.
DirtRoadMama's Avatar DirtRoadMama 06:29 PM 04-30-2010
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
Yay Iowa!~ You make me smile
We're not just a "fly over" state anymore! People actually come here on purpose! Haha!

*end hijack*
wemoon's Avatar wemoon 02:07 PM 05-03-2010
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. The one interesting thing that has happened recently is that he finally started paying child support after 4 1/2 years of not doing it. I don't know if this would be any sort of barrier to having him give up his parental rights or not. I do not know where he is located. I tried looking him up not too long ago, but didn't have much luck.
PoppyMama's Avatar PoppyMama 03:17 PM 05-03-2010
That's actually good. Do you have his social? If you do you can get one of those paid internet searches to find him and offer terminating rights as a way to stop child support.