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Gay father in Hackensack worried about losing custody of son

Child custody issues can prompt very emotional circumstances in addition to the obvious legal concerns, and these matters relate to both opposite- and same-sex couples. Due to rise in domestic partnerships, same-sex couples are increasingly dealing with child custody issues. For example, a New Jersey man is concerned that his partner's move out of state will jeopardize his parental rights to their adopted child.

The issue at hand is that a Hackensack judge has granted one father's request to move to Georgia, a state that doesn't recognize same-sex adoptions. The men jointly adopted the boy in 2004 and ended their relationship in 2008.

Though the men continued to have joint custody of the boy (now 9), one of the fathers moved to New York City, and he was awarded residential custody. Now the parent with residential custody is seeking to move to Georgia, and the father in Hackensack is fighting that move. He says Georgia is a "hostile state" that could keep him from continuing to be a parent to the boy. Still, the Hackensack judge determined that the men should retain joint custody.

An attorney for the man going to Georgia said that the ex-partner need not be concerned about retaining his parenting rights. The attorney contended that Georgia essentially must respect New Jersey law. The lawyer for the New Jersey man disagreed, claiming that such protection does not necessarily extend to Georgia.

The New Jersey father has vowed to appeal the judge's ruling. This case highlights the concerns that many same-sex couples in New Jersey may have, any parent facing a child custody dispute is likely to need legal counsel to achieve the best outcome.

Source: New Jersey Record, "Gay father fearful of losing son to 'hostile state' as judge OKs ex-partner's move to Ga.," Kibret Marcos, Aug. 11, 2012

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