Is adoption still a challenge for same-sex couples?

Although same-sex couples may now have a right to marry, there are family law issues that continue to present challenges to unmarried couples with children, regardless of sexual orientation.

In a recent example, a state’s highest court declined to recognize the adoption rights performed in a neighboring state. The adoptive parent of three children brought the request. The woman had the children in a lesbian relationship, where her former partner was the biological mother of the children. The couple never married, and subsequently broke up after moving to another state. Consequently, the adoptive parent had to request legal visitation rights.

The woman has now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. In a rare move, the Supreme Court issued an order to stay the state court’s decision. The legal standard for whether to stay the lower court’s denial of visitation rights involved an issue of family law: whether irreparable harm to the parent-child relationship would result without the requested relief.

What is common to many family law decisions is the recognition of the importance that each parent can play in his or her child’s life. The stay granted by the Supreme Court in this particular instance seems to acknowledge the important role that each parent can play in a child’s upbringing, as well as the harm that could result if the lower court’s denial of visitation had been implemented.

Our law firm has helped same-sex couples with a variety of family law issues for years. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marital rights, issues like this adoption case may continue to surface. An attorney can help in this process.

Source: Newsroom America, "U. of I. News: Gay adoption: A Minute With… U. of I. expert Sara R. Benson," Jan. 5, 2016