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NY Courts Extend More Parental Rights to Same-Sex Partners

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The New York Supreme Court recently had to decide an issue of child custody and visitation in a same-sex marriage. In Wendy G-M v. Erin G-M, during their marriage, one spouse underwent artificial insemination, became pregnant and gave birth to a child.  The question for the court in this case is whether the other spouse, the one who is not the biological parent to the child, is still considered a “parent” of the child under New York law.

The couple was married in a civil ceremony in Connecticut.  Before undergoing the artificial insemination, each spouse consented to being parents of the child by signing a consent form which stated that any child that was born as a product of the artificial insemination was to be accepted as a “legal issue of their marriage”

The court relied on case law to decide this case, specifically Laura WW v. Peter WW, which held that that a child born during a marriage makes each spouse a legally recognized parent to that child.  The main distinction between that case and this one is that in Laura WW the spouses were in a heterosexual marriage, whereas in Wendy G-M, the spouses are in a same-sex marriage.  The Marriage Equality Act eliminates many of the past sex-based distinctions in New York’s Domestic Relations Law, thus the court found that they should apply the holding of Laura WW to this case and find the non-biological spouse to be considered a parent of the child.


The court now requires a conference to decide the spouse’s access to the child in question.

If you are having a legal issue in the field of family and matrimony law and want to speak to a knowledgeable and experienced Long Island divorce and family attorney to discuss your options, please contact the Law Offices of Jay D. Raxenberg.

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