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We're Leading Parental Rights in Same Sex Marriage

We're Leading Parental Rights in Same Sex Marriage

I am so honored to have been part of a same-sex marriage case that was recently ruled in our favor, setting a precendent for all other same-sex families going through the same situation. To briefly explain, in 2013 a NYS Supreme Court justice ruled that one of my clients — who married her partner in 2009 — did not have parental rights to her son after the couple filed for divorce, due to her lack of biological connection to the child. The judge based his ruling on the couple's son being born before New York's same-sex marriage act was approved in 2011. However, later that year, a NYS Appellate Court overturned this ruling and granted my client parental rights to her son.

I am happy to report that an upstate New York judge followed suit when he recently ruled that in a same-sex marriage the non-biological spouse has the same common law parental rights as the biological mother if the marriage ends in divorce. This latest case celebrates that when a child born during a same sex marriage, he/she is the child of that marriage. It creates parental rights for the non-biological parent without adoption, just like a heterosexual couple would have for the father.

As per my client Mercedes Counihan, who helped us make case history: "Sari and Andrea and their dedicated crew continue to work closely with me to protect my rights as a non-biological parent. Together, we have made case law in hopes that other same sex parents will never experience the pain that I have had."


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