After the Supreme Court legitimized same-sex marriage, many people in Texas and across the nation celebrated. The move was viewed as an extension of rights to a group that had long felt shut out of marriage. For some same-sex couples, however, the battle is not yet over. An example is found in a couple currently struggling over a complex child custody dispute.
The two parties, both women, were in a committed relationship when they decided to expand their family. Same-sex marriage was not available in their state of residence, so their options were limited. They agreed that one woman would pursue an adoption, and they brought a six-year-old boy into their home. Two years later they traveled to another state to get married.
The same woman who adopted then became pregnant by way of in vitro fertilization and gave birth to the couple's second son. Several years later, the marriage faltered. The state that married the couple would not process a divorce because neither party had resided there for a year prior to filing. Their state of residence would not process a divorce because same-sex marriage was not recognized. As a result, the woman with no legal or biological ties to the children has been effectively removed from their lives.
As this case goes on, it will not be the first nor the last to address issues of same-sex marriage in the creation of nontraditional families. This unusual child custody dispute may set precedent in the couple's state of residence. It will also be of interest to parents in Texas and across the nation.
Source: NBC News, "For Some Same-Sex Couples, Divorce Is a Legal Nightmare", Julie Compton, Sept. 7, 2016