Same-sex couples in New Jersey who share children might want to pay attention to a case that is pending in Hawaii. The case involves a woman who divorced her spouse. The woman’s spouse became pregnant before the divorce by using a sperm donor, and the military spouse filed for divorce after her wife became pregnant.
The military ex-spouse is arguing that her parental rights should be terminated because she did not give consent to her wife to get pregnant or to have a child. She argues that she was not there for the birth and has never established a relationship with the child. Her ex-spouse argues that the couple had discussed having a baby together multiple times during their marriage and that the court should not order the termination of parental rights.
If the court agrees to terminate the military spouse’s parental rights, then some people in the LGBTQ community worry that courts might be led to treat same-sex and opposite-sex parents differently. Normally, the other spouse is legally presumed to be the parent of any child that is born of the marriage.
When parents divorce, child support and child custody are often at issue. Parents who cannot reach agreements about support and custody on their own may want to talk about their cases with experienced family law attorneys. Regardless of whether the couples are same-sex or opposite-sex, both parents should be expected to contribute to their children’s upbringing. Attorneys may work to secure child custody, visitation and support agreements that protect their clients’ rights. If they need to do so, they may opt to take the case before a family law judge.