People get married every day. It is a right that many of us take for granted. With the right to marry comes the concomitant right to divorce, should that be the unfortunate course a married couple pursues. California law affords divorcing parents a slew of rights when it comes to settling child custody and visitation matters, among many other issues. If you are a parent considering divorce, you are encouraged to contact an experienced San Diego Family Law attorney to guide you through an often complicated and emotional court process.
The rights that many of us take for granted are the very same ones that couples in same-sex relationships are not necessarily entitled to, depending on where they live. This week is a momentous moment as the highest court in the country is currently hearing and deciding two separate issues relating to same-sex marriage. The cases involve DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, and Proposition 8, an amendment to the California constitution. Both of these items define marriage as a union involving a man and woman. The Unites States Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week on both items, on separate days.
In earlier actions, federal appeals courts struck down both laws, and some expect the Supreme Court to do the same. Organizations have been stepping forward at this crucial moment to lend support to overturning laws that have been deemed unfair and not in the best interests of families. In a bold move, just last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first time announced its support for same-sex marriage, stating that permitting gay and lesbian parents to marry if they so desire is in the best interests of their children.
According to a New York Times article, the academy’s recent policy statement says same-sex marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits and long-term security for children. This includes all matters relating to a marriage, including parents’ rights in a divorce proceeding. The academy cites another pertinent reason that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry: divorce laws provide for a legally structured arrangement for visits and child custody.
According to Dr. Ellen Perrin, a co-author of the new policy, “If people can’t get married, then they can’t get divorced.” Dr. Perrin adds, “That legal system that exists to protect our most vulnerable, namely children, isn’t in play.” And while many of us think of divorce as a contentious, stressful point in a family’s life, we sometimes forget that the legal process exists, at least in part, to protect children. That protection includes ensuring that the ultimate child custody arrangement is the right one, and one that is approved by the court.
In a few short months, the Supreme Court will render decisions in both cases. It seems that if the Court finds that same-sex couples should be afforded the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, children of those unions will certainly benefit. The article indicates that marriage strengthens families and fosters children’s development. It also provides protection to children of parents who ultimately decide to divorce.
If you are a parent with questions about divorce and related child custody matters, you are encouraged to contact Doppelt & Forney. Mr. Doppelt is an experienced family law attorney representing parents for more than 20 years in Southern California. Doppelt & Forney serves clients in Linda Vista, Encinitas, Scripps Ranch, San Diego, and throughout Southern California. For a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced family lawyer, contact Doppelt & Forney through the law firm’s website or give us a call toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748).
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