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Custody case proceeds for former same-sex couple

Same-sex couples in Virginia who have children may be interested in the outcome of a case in which a woman is fighting for custody of the daughter born to her former partner while the two were together. The woman is not biologically related to the child, but she cut the child's umbilical cord, carried the child on her health insurance and lived with the child for four years.

The woman's former partner, who had the child via a sperm donor, married after the two split up, and her husband filed to adopt the child. The local family court in Kentucky, where the case is unfolding, ruled that the woman's claim was legitimate, but the decision was reversed by an appellate court.

However, when the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled on the case, the judge writing the opinion said that whether or not the relationships was same-sex was irrelevant. He said that the crux of the case was about people's ability to file a lawsuit in a case in which they had an interest. A trial court will make a decision regarding the woman's custody claim.

With same-sex marriages only recently made legal in every state, similar cases may occur throughout the country. However, a similar case could also happen with an opposite-sex couple or with any individual who has substantial contact with a child and wishes to maintain that relationship. For example, unmarried opposite-sex partners might also have a child together that is conceived through a sperm donor, and so the parent who did not give birth might not be legally named as the parent. When faced with a child custody case, a court bases its decision on the best interests of the child.

Source: ABC News, "Court allows custody case pitting ex-gay couple to proceed," Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press, Feb. 18, 2016

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