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Melissa A. Featherston

Same-sex marriage can affect child custody and other issues

The legal battles over same-sex marriage may be over, but there are still many issues and details that must be worked through. Following the Supreme Court decision, the governor of Missouri has ordered all state agencies to begin recognizing same-sex marriages, from issuing marriage licenses to changing names on drivers' licenses. Recent rulings will also have an impact on certain family law issues, such as adoption, child custody and divorce. 

In the coming months, courts must work though new challenges of considering how existing laws and protections now apply to same-sex couples. The Missouri governor, by issuing this order of compliance, expects cooperation from every state board and agency. However, it is widely expected that there will be specific issues that must be decided in family law courts because there may be no existing legal precedent.

The recent ruling granting rights to same-sex couples does not mean that they will not face continued legal challenges. Couples seeking a divorce, pursuing adoption or seeking a legal resolution to a custody dispute should secure the assistance of a Missouri lawyer knowledgeable in complex family law issues. A lawyer can help a couple or individual seek a beneficial outcome to their situation.

Same-sex couples will likely still face legal challenges in the coming weeks and months. Consequently, it is important to protect the entitlements now granted by law, particularly when navigating complicated issues such as child custody. Missouri couples may find benefit in scheduling a case evaluation with a knowledgeable lawyer in order to better understand the appropriate way to respond to the specific situation.

Source: kansascity.com, "Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri and Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas issue different orders on same-sex marriage", Dave Helling, July 7, 2015

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