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LGBT community still faces hurdles in divorce

Amid the celebrations for last month's annual Pride festival, there was a lot of disagreement over the status of the gay rights movement in Colorado and nationwide.

While Pride celebrations in Denver and elsewhere were large and mostly joyous occasions, there were arguments within the community. Demonstrators disrupted a Pride parade in San Francisco, arguing against the event's turn from protest to corporate-sponsored party. Meanwhile, a controversial essay in The Atlantic argued that widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage means the struggle for gay rights is largely over.

While Colorado was once known for its virulent opposition to gay rights, a lot has changed in recent years. Same-sex marriage has been legal here for almost five years now, since the constitutional ban on the practice was struck down in court. Gov. Jared Polis is one of the first openly gay state governors in the nation.

Still, many people in the LGBT community say they don't feel they have achieved equality. This can be especially clear when they face issues in family law.

One family law issue that can be particularly troubling for LGBT clients is child custody. State law generally recognizes that each biological parent has rights and responsibilities toward their children, but nonbiological or adoptive parents can have a much harder time asserting custody or visitation rights in a divorce. This can be painful for people who helped raise a child since an early age, and who think of themselves as parents. It can be painful as well for the child.

A family law attorney who has experience in same-sex family law issues, including divorce, child custody and child support, can help people find ways to defend their own rights while also protecting the best interests of the child.

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