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Same Sex Partner Denied Custody

divorce attorney on Long IslandJudge Edmund Dane sitting in the Family Court in Nassau County on July 25, 2014, rendered a decision of first impression involving two women in a same sex relationship. The women’s names were Jamie and Jan. Jamie had brought a motion to dismiss ex-wife Jan’s application to the court seeking joint custody of the parties’ child, John. She argued there was no standing to bring this proceeding.

Jamie and Jan had been married in New York in 2012. However, Jan did not adopt John. Jamie was the biological parent of John.

The Separation Agreement

Jamie and Jan had entered into a separation agreement. The agreement indicated John was a child of the marriage. Jan therefore took the position Jamie should be equitably estopped (prevented) from obtaining joint custody of John. She claimed she had been continually involved in a parental role of John and it was in John’s best interest she be given joint custody.

Justice Dane found Jan’s argument was not appropriate. Jan was not John’s birth parent. Jan could not claim in a paternity proceeding, like a man would be able to in the same situation, the argument of equitable estoppel could be applied for establishing standing to request joint custody of the child, John. Simply stated Justice Dane’s position was only a father could allege he was the biological parent of John under this statute. The statute allowed a paternity proceeding but not a maternity proceeding.


Does this mean if two women are in a same sex relationship and one woman is the biological parent of the child, the other woman has to adopt the child if she seeks to have custody or visitation in a divorce proceeding?divorce attorney in Metropolitan New York

Family Court Issues An Order Of Protection Between Adopted Mother & Birth Mother

adoptive-150x150Earlier this year, Judge Julianne Eisman, sitting in the Family Court of Nassau County, rendered a decision describing that the relationship between a birth mother and the woman who adopted her three children as an “intimate relationship”. Under New York State Law, this means that the Family Court has jurisdiction to grant an order of protection.

M.S. has five adopted children. Three of the children are biological sons of K.G. In March of 2009, K.G. sent a series of threatening letters to M.S. In one letter, she wrote “please return my son’s death certificate or crematory certificate”. M.S. also indicated that K.G. had taken photographs of the children and followed their bus to school. Due to these events, M.S. brought an action in the Family Court of Nassau County for a temporary order of protection.

Family Court Jurisdiction

The Family Court in New York State is a court of limited jurisdiction. It can only exercise jurisdiction concerning orders of protection which involve individuals with an “intimate relationship”. This “intimate relationship” provision was added as an amendment to the New York State law in 2008.

Judge Eisman found that an “initimate relationship” did exist between the adoptive mother and the birth mother; therefore, she granted an order of protection to the adoptive mother preventing the birth mother from interacting with the children. This is an excellent decision. The 2008 amendment to the New York State law was designed to expand the Family Court’s ability to grant orders of protection. Judge Eisman cirrectly interpreted the statute.

Should you have any questions regarding orders of protection, child custody or any other issues involving family disputes, please contact the Family Law attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo, by email or at 1-800-344-6431.

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