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Custody cases may reveal legal troubles for same-sex parents

Florida same-sex parents may be interested in what numerous custody cases taking place across the nation could mean for them. Different states are adopting unique approaches to updating parent definitions and family law, such as in one landmark decision by a Massachusetts judge to give a biological mother and a recognized parent shared custody. Another case out of Kentucky, however, reveals how different levels of court systems may conflict in their decisions.

In the Kentucky case, a woman and her ex-partner formerly shared parental rights over a child conceived by one of the pair via donated sperm. After the two split, the biological mother married a man with whom she tried to claim exclusive custody of the child.

A county family court initially decided in favor of the non-biological mother, who had provided insurance, care, housing and other significant support for the girl. An appeals court subsequently decided in favor of the biological mother, and the case has gone to the state's highest court. Attorneys for the biological mother noted that even though the child recognized the bond between herself and her non-biological parent, they interpreted existing laws as not defining the woman as a parent.

Modern same-sex partners still face many challenges due to the way laws are implemented. Issues like the definition of a parent, who provided financial and material support and biological ties can all impact court decisions. Although many existing cases are predicted to transform the legal landscape by establishing important precedents, parents who want to separate may find it wise to meet with a family law attorney in order to learn about how their states have handled similar cases in the past.

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