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Woman recognized as ex-wife’s husband for custody purposes

The issue over parental roles has become hotly debated in recent years in San Antonio, particularly considering many of the shifts seen in societal norms. Recent federal rulings that have served to legalize same-sex marriages have even further blurred the lines between what it means to be a father and mother. With the rise is same-sex marriages has also come an inevitable increase in same-sex divorces, as such couples are subject to the same stresses that cause many heterosexual marriages to fail. Without established laws on the books, family courts are often encountering the need to be creative in the way laws are applied.

This notion was on full display a custody case ruling that recently occurred in Tennessee. A woman was essentially granted the same rights as a husband as part of her custody case. She and her former wife had a child through donor insemination. Tennessee state law allows husbands parental rights for children that their wives conceived through this method. The woman argued that she should be extended the same right, even though her name is not listed on the child’s birth certificate due to the fact that same-sex marriages were not recognized in Tennessee at the time the child was born. After consulting with the state’s Supreme Court, the judge hearing the case ruled in the woman’s favor, citing a recommendation for the higher court to view the terms “husband” and “wife” in this case as being gender-neutral.

As similar issues start to arise with same-sex couples, those affected by them may need to argue for an extension of the application of current laws. Such an argument may be better supported if one has an attorney providing the legal basis for it.

Source: BioNews “Tennessee recognizes lesbian woman as ‘husband’ in sperm donor baby dispute” Yarwood, Mary, May 15, 2017  

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