Coates & Frey, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
Phone: (808) 524-4854

What child support obligations do same-sex parents have?

Same-sex couples fought for years to have the right to marry -- and family law is slowly catching up with the fact that same-sex couples now have that right. However, reinterpreting the law in light of social changes can be difficult -- and it can leave plenty of same-sex couples confused about both their rights and their obligations after a divorce.

Here are the basics that you should know if you're going through a same-sex divorce in Hawaii when there's a child involved:

Thanks to a case that addressed just this issue, Hawaii has clearly defined the rights -- and legal obligations -- of parents in a same-sex marriage. They're essentially the same as for heterosexual couples.

Under Hawaii's Uniform Parentage Act, the husband of a woman who gives birth during the marriage is presumed to be the child's natural father. In the case that came before the Hawaii Supreme Court, a woman married to her wife when the wife gave birth to a child via donor sperm wanted to be relieved of her obligation to pay child support.

The Uniform Parentage Act enacted in 2013 -- the same year that same-sex marriages became legal throughout the nation -- says that gender-specific terms (such as "father") are to be considered gender-neutral when it comes to the application of the law.

The woman in question objected to her obligation to pay support on the basis that she hadn't consented to the artificial insemination. However, she was unable to provide any evidence to prove that. The majority of the justices ruled that it would have made no difference even if she could prove it -- because the Uniform Parentage Act made her the child's other presumptive parent.

Whether you consider that good news or bad, you now have some idea of what to expect regarding your child support obligations after a same-sex divorce. For more information, consider getting legal advice on your specific situation.

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