In a ruling that expands the definition of “parenthood” in New York, the state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the nonmarried, ex-partner of a biological parent may seek custody or visitation rights of children they once agreed to conceive and raise as co-partners with their exes.
The 6-0 court, the state’s highest, said that given the legalization of same-sex marriages and other societal changes that have upset the notion of “parents” as being a married man and woman, it was time for it to abandon the precedent it has adhered to since its 1991 ruling in Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M., 77 NY2d 651.
The ruling in Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C., 91, and Matter of Estrellita A. v. Jennifer D., 92, reversed denials by family courts in Chautauqua and Suffolk counties of visitation sought by the former same-sex partners of children’s biological mothers. The petitioners in neither case had married their partners or legally adopted the children.
Read complete analysis by Joel Stashenko, New York Law Journal
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