In a landmark decision, New York’s highest court has ruled “that
the nonmarried, ex-partner of a biological parent may seek custody or
visitation rights of children they once agreed to conceive and raise as
co-parents with their exes,” as reported in the New York law Journal
on August 30, 2016.
Writing for the Court of Appeals, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam declared, “Basing
visitation and custody rights chiefly on the biological relationship between
adult and child has led to a ‘needlessly narrow’ interpretation
of what a ‘parent’ is.” Key to the Court’s decision
was New York’s public policy of enforcing equality for same-sex
couples, and the Court’s recognition that the prior legal framework
for establishing one’s standing to seek custody of a child worked
an injustice against a same-sex parent who was not a biological parent
of the child.
Despite the decision, issues still remain…
- What proper test should be in cases where no preconception agreement can
be shown to have existed between nonbiological couples.
- The continuing need for second parent adoptions
- The impact on support issues
Should you have any questions about these or any other legal matters affecting
the LGBT community, please contact Mr. Milizio at 516.437.4385 x108 or
Mr. Trotti at 516.437.4385 x140.
Joseph G. Milizio practices in the firm’s LGBT Representation, Business and Transactional
Law, Exit Planning for Business Owners, and Real Estate Law Groups. Partner
Joseph Trotti practices in the firm’s Matrimonial and Family Law, LGBT Representation
and Commercial Litigation Groups.