Same-sex couples gained marriage equality in June 2015, providing a cause for celebration. This same decision also paved the way for legalizing adoption by same-sex parents.
How does Alaska determine child custody when the marriage does not work out? Despite the nuanced differences in the biological relationships between the parents in same-sex couples and their children, the state handles legal and physical custody similarly to heterosexual couples.
How does Alaska determine custody for same-sex parents?
The state’s law on awarding custody makes the child’s best interest the priority. The statute clearly stipulates that the law gives neither parent preferential consideration over the other, regardless of legitimacy. In a same-sex parent situation, the fact that one parent is the biological parent would not provide that parent a legal advantage when the court decides custody.
Do the courts award shared custody to same-sex parents?
The courts do award shared custody to same-sex parents when it is in the child’s best interest. The courts consider the following factors:
- Home stability for each parent
- The child’s educational needs
- The amount of time the child should spend with each parent
- Travel time between households
- The parents’ willingness to nurture a relationship with the other parent
Alaska statutes for custody use gender-neutral language, reflecting the state’s perspective that it considers both parents equally when determining custody, regardless of gender or biological parentage.
Custody issues can be a challenging hurdle for everyone involved. However, when both parents commit to their child’s best interests, it is possible to work out an amicable solution. Alaska’s custody laws support this approach for same-sex couples and heterosexual couples.