Pennsylvania parents may want to hear about a Kentucky lawsuit that demonstrates the problems same-sex couples sometimes face in child custody disputes following breakups. In the case, which is headed to the Kentucky Supreme Court, two women were partners and one had a child through a sperm donor while they were still together.
The case revolves around a girl who is now 9 years old. Until she was 4, she was raised by both her biological mother as well as her mother’s partner. The partner had the girl on her medical insurance, and the girl was given both her middle and last names. The couple then split up.
Initially, the couple had an informal child custody and visitation agreement, but when the biological mother met and married a man, she cut off all ties with her former partner. Her husband is seeking to adopt the girl, and the former partner is seeking child custody and visitation rights. The trial court granted her parental rights, but an appellate court reversed that decision due to the fact there is no biological relationship and the partner didn’t adopt her. The case will be argued before the Kentucky Supreme Court.
The case illustrates the difficulties that same-sex partners can face. While same-sex marriage was legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court, other areas of the family law have not caught up. This can make some situations very difficult for a person who is in a same-sex relationship, especially regarding child custody and visitation if a child is not biologically theirs. People who are in same-sex relationships and who plan to marry may want to consult with a family law attorney in order to discuss how changing laws might affect them if they want to expand their family later.