Divorce, Parental Rights, and Same-Sex Couples

By Lois G. Schwartz | June 20, 2017

The allowance for same-sex couples to get married today means that there are legal entanglements that crop up that haven’t been faced before in a court.  One case resolved in May 2017 involved the parental rights of a divorced lesbian couple that fought in a large custody battle.

The Problem

The key problem, in this case, is that the judge in Knoxville ruled originally that the woman who didn’t conceive the child could not be considered the husband in the case per the legal definition of the word.  Therefore, the judge felt that this partner didn’t have any parental rights to the child that was born during the marriage from artificial insemination.  This meant that she had no legal recourse to get custody to the child that she had been raising as her own.

The Solution

At a later time, the judge did change his decision here.  He granted the women their divorce as he would a straight couple, in addition to approving the custody split plan that the divorced couple created.  This is a great stride forward for equality as being free to get divorced is just as important as being able to be married.

Not Over Yet

In Kentucky, the state Legislature is working on a bill that will impinge gay rights by creating narrow legal definitions when it comes to father, mother, husband, and wife.  Some of these legislators worked to try to intervene in this case by filing court papers in this case.  These legislators are those that support marriage being only between a man and a woman.  This intervention was denied, but there are couples worried about their parental rights being stripped from them with this new law.  Some of these women have even filed lawsuits over their concerns.

This situation may be in another state, but there are all too many cases like this around the country where there can be gray areas to the law.  A strong family law attorney can have your back and help to protect your rights under the federal laws that offer equality. Contact Lois Garber Schwartz when you need an experienced family law attorney that understands that a compassionate hand is needed in these matters.

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    Lois Garber Schwartz

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