Many same-sex couples who were married here in Massachusetts more than a decade ago have gone on to live in other states where marriage equality didn’t exist until it became the law of the land. Massachusetts, of course, was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2004.
One of those couples, who married here in Massachusetts in 2009 and later settled in Mississippi, is now in a custody battle that has made it way to that state’s Supreme Court. The couple, whose divorce was finalized last month, is fighting over custody of their sons.
The women had a child conceived via in vitro fertilization while they were married. The woman who didn’t give birth to the now 5-years-old child was not allowed to be listed on the boy’s birth certificate and therefore is not considered his legal parent. She has since been denied the right to adopt him.
The two also adopted a son, who is now 16. The woman who has pursued the custody case in court was denied joint physical or legal custody of either child. She was, however, granted visitation and ordered to pay child support.
The issue of child custody in gay marriages is still a difficult one. Because same-sex spouses weren’t allowed to be listed as legal parents on their children’s birth certificates for many years if they weren’t the person giving birth, they have no legal rights as parents if the couple divorces. The woman pursuing this case says she hopes that this case will “help everybody that is coming up with the same case to be put on their child’s birth certificate no matter what.”
If you’re dealing with some of the unique situations that can arise in a same-sex divorce, it’s essential to have an attorney who understands those situations and will fight for you.
Source: WDAM 7, “Rankin County woman appeals to Supreme Court in same sex child custody battle,” Roslyn Anderson, Nov. 09, 2016