Same sex couples around the nation have continually fought for their right to marry and in thirty-six states they have been given that right. What same-sex couples did not think to fight for was the right to divorce. There has been a considerable lack of focus on one such issue often left out of the public discourse over marriage equality: determining parental rights for the purposes of child custody/visitation in the context of a homosexual relationship that has broken down. The choice to have a child in a same-sex couple, with the exception of adoption, usually only allows for one parent to serve as the biological parent to the child. These options include: surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, and artificial insemination. What that means is that it leaves the other parent as the nonlegal and nonbiological parent in which they would be given no rights to the child if the relationship were to dissolve. After looking at many cases in Florida, the courts place a significant emphasis on biology in determining child custody in dissolution of marriage or relationship proceedings. In this thesis, we offer solutions in order to allow same-sex couples the equal parental rights they deserve even when they are not the biological parent of the child. Florida statutes have not been updated to reflect the changes in the law such as the recognition of same-sex marriage and the right for same-sex couples to adopt. Although restrictions on adoption and same sex marriages have been found unconstitutional, the implications of these changes in the law regarding custody and parental rights have not changed. Once the proposed solutions have been adopted, same-sex couples will be able to dissolve their relationships and marriages without fear of losing the custody and/or visitation rights to their child while still applying the best interest of the child standard used in heterosexual dissolution of marriage cases.


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Thesis Completion





Cook, Kathy


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Health and Public Affairs


Legal Studies

Degree Program

Legal Studies


Dissertations, Academic -- Health and Public Affairs; Health and Public Affairs -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

Included in

Legal Studies Commons