A Full-Service Law Firm

New York State expanding parental rights to non-biological children

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.


Managing Partner 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 VMM Family Institute, LGBT Representation and Commercial Litigation Groups.