The Changing Law of Custody and Same-Sex Couples

Findlaw and the Associated Press reported today that a Montana judge has ruled in favor of a woman who sought parental rights to a boy and girl adopted by her former same-sex partner. It appears to be a first in Montana, a state where the voters rejected same sex marriage in 2004 by a margin of 2 to 1. It is interested to read the language of the Montana judge's opinion compared to the recent Kentucky Supreme Court case of S.J.L.S. v. T.L.S.

In the Kentucky Supreme Court case, "S" and "T" were a lesbian couple and S gave birth to a child using artificial insemination with a donor chosen by T. After the birth of the child, T petitioned for and by agreement received permanent joint custody. Two years later, the couple split up and T filed for adoption alleging that she was a step parent and the adoption was somehow granted without appeal. The case actually arose because S two years after the fact tried to set aside the adoption. I do not intend for this blog to become a legal research site, so I will just direct you to Diana L. Skaggs' wonderful Kentucky Divorce Law Blog for a more thorough analysis of the case.

Suffice it to say, the law involving same-sex couples is definitely a gray area right now and practitioners and clients alike should tred carefully.