Same Sex Child Custody

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A Landmark Decision in the World of Family Law

The New York State Court of Appeals “Redefines” Parenthood Giving Options to Same-Sex Parents.
“…the fundamental nature of [parental] rights mandates caution in expanding the definition of [parent]…”

The New York State Court of Appeals, our highest court in New York, has made landmark decisions in the world of family law in Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C., 91, and Matter of Estrellita A. v. Jennifer D., 92, 2016 NY Slip Op 05903.

Essentially, this means the “intended second parent”, who:

(1) Does not share genetics with the children
(2) Has not adopted the children
(3) Is not married to the other parent

Will have substantially more rights under the newly established case law by the Court of Appeals.

This is wonderful news as the number of same-sex families in New York continue to grow and many of the children within those families are related to only one partner by birth or adoption. (See Gary J. Gates & Abigail M. Cooke, The Williams Institute, New York Census Snapshot: 2010 at 1-3).

Prior outdated law from 1991 created a rule that in an unmarried couple, a partner without a biological or adoptive relation to a child is not that child’s “parent” for purposes of seeking custody or visitation, even though they’ve established a parental-like relationship with the child. (See Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C., quoting Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M., 77 NY2d 651 [1991]).

Today, the “intended second parent” may prove two things to prove their standing to seek visitation and custody:
(1) The parties agreed to conceive a child
(2) The parties agreed to raise the child together
The Court has not created a brightline rule as to how determine standing, leaving the door open for other creative legal arguments to allow non-biological and non-adoptive same-sex parents access to custody and visitation of their children.

Two (2) things to remember in custody disputes:

(1) The best interests of the child or children
(2) Consult to an attorney who is familiar with this brand new decision about your options

Contact an experienced attorney: The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC

If you are looking for a family law attorney for your same sex matter, we encourage you to contact  The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates today, to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.

You Don’t Have to Take Our Word For It. Here’s Why Same Sex Couples Trust Our Firm For Legal Representation.

Mia Poppe

Mia Poppe

Managing Partner, Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC

Efficient, Reasonable, Sensitive and Professional

“I interviewed over 15 lawyers until I met Mia. I went to the first hour consultation and immediately I knew that she was the professional that should represent me in my divorce. My case, as probably many others, turned out from a simple case to a complicated one after my partner changed her mind over and over on our settlement agreement. Mia took the lead and closed my – over 2 year – process divorced in less than 5 months. Her team is capable, professional, smart and punctual. I fully recommend Mia and her firm.”

– Edgar

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