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Case challenges gender-based parental rights

Many may believe that Illinois residents who are in same-sex marriages can face the same challenges when getting divorced as do their heterosexual counterparts. To some degree, this may be true. When it comes to identifying parental rights and associated parenting time, however, this may not necessarily be the case.

Every state may approach same-sex divorce differently but there still appears to be a lot of inconsistency and lack of clarity around how to handle parental rights in a same-sex divorce. Two cases in Arizona illustrate just how complex it can be. One involves a lesbian couple in which one spouse biologically had a child via a sperm donor. The non-biological parent was named on the child's birth certificate yet her paternity rights were denied when getting divorced based upon her gender.

A second case in Arizona also involved a lesbian couple with a child from a sperm donor. An appeals court ruled that gender neutrality apply to paternity laws and that the non-biological parent could therefore have rights. Her former spouse and biological parent, however, has appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court in an effort to prevent the non-biological parent from having contact with the child.

When faced with these difficult situations, Illinois residents may want to reach out to an attorney who can walk them through the fine details of the laws and help them make the best decisions for themselves and for their children.

Source: AZ Central, "How a lesbian divorce case could redefine parenthood," Joanna Allhands, June 27, 2017


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