How State Laws Define ‘Parent’ Can Impact Child Custody

Within the past several months, the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage has given rise to a variety of unexpected challenges for the justice system, particularly in the area of child custody.  Compounding the problem is the fact that the definition of ‘parent’ differs from state to state, leaving same-sex parents with no biological connection to a child completely vulnerable to losing their parental rights. One of several pending cases across our nation has gained traction due to the impending question about what it means to be a ‘parent.’

In Kentucky, a 9-year-old girl now awaits a decision as to whom she will refer as ‘parents’ given the separation of her two mothers in 2011. One of two mothers, impregnated in 2006 via sperm donor, is the girl’s biological parent who has since remarried a man. The other mother, whom the girl refers to as ‘nommy,’ raised her until the age of 4 year and carried her on her insurance plan.

The new husband of the girl’s biological mother is now seeking to adopt the child, and the non-biological mother is attempting to intervene the adoption process.

Child custody laws in most states don’t yet fit all families. Therefore, should parental relationships with a child not be recognized by the laws governing the state in which you reside, the situation becomes much more complicated and potentially, losing.

No decision has yet been finalized in this case, however this is one of several seeking to sort out parental rights of same-sex couples.

The Law Offices of Russell I. Marnell, P.C. stands equipped and prepared to discuss your rights and the rights of your child. We are knowledgeable and well-versed in New York State laws and remain current of the evolution of laws that may impact our clients.  Should you be concerned about a potential custody arrangement, we urge to you contact us at: 1-866-MARNELL (866-627-6355).

*The information contained in this blog is presented as general information and is not to be construed as legal advice to apply to any person or particular situation. Please keep in mind that the law is constantly changing and therefore you should always consult an attorney for legal advice based on the individual circumstances of your situation.*