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Divorced gay man challenges ruling on visitation rights

Most divorced parents will agree on one thing: Whatever the reasons behind their marital discord and separation, at the end of the day, their children's well-being comes first. Thus they trudge through contentious issues such as physical custody, child support and schooling, always with the best interests of their children in mind.

This is exactly the type of question that a separated couple is debating in an Arkansas court: Should the gay ex-husband, who has been cohabiting with another man for several years, be permitted to have his minor son stay overnight when his romantic partner is in the house?

A county circuit judge had earlier ruled against it, but the ruling has been challenged in the state's Supreme Court. The man's attorneys argue that the circuit judge made the ruling without analyzing what was in the best interests of the child and that the judge issued the ruling even though he had recorded a finding that the husband's romantic partner poses no threat to the son.

In several states, a judge is forbidden to take into account a person's sexual preference when ruling on a custody dispute and related issues, such as visitation rights.

Parents in Clarksville, Tennessee, or elsewhere in the country who find themselves in such a complex custody dispute may find it beneficial to seek professional legal advice. Given the societal perception and legal status of same-sex relationships in Tennessee, an experienced professional can ensure that parental rights are not jeopardized due to sexual preferences. Ultimately, the aim is to make certain that children get the love and affection of both parents during their crucial formative years.

Source: Arkansas News, "Ban on parent's partner being in home during visitation challenged," John Lyon, Nov. 7, 2013

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