State laws prevailing over same-sex divorces are deficient, which creates a significant disadvantage regarding child visitation rights for same-sex couples who had children before they were legally married. A decision by the Maryland appeals court has denied a lesbian woman visitation rights and custody of a child that was born of the woman’s former partner prior to the couple’s marriage.
The ruling, which negated Michelle Conover’s parental standing over her 5-year-old son, was handed down by a Washington County Circuit judge and was upheld by the Court of Special Appeals at the end of August. The timing of the boy’s birth, the couple’s marriage and their divorce were the basis for the court’s decision. The child’s birth took place six months before Conover married the child’s biological mother. The couple divorced 17 months later.
Unclear Legislature Makes Visitation Decisions Difficult
The circuit judge made his ruling due to the unclear laws governing same-sex couple’s rights. Michelle Conover was a deemed a “third party” as opposed to the court recognizing her as the child’s second parent. This was important to the case because as a third party she would have to show that there was either existing exceptional circumstances which would provide grounds to supersede the biological mother’s decisions regarding who could spend time with the child, or she would have to prove the biological mother unfit.
In July 2012, Conover’s former wife barred her from seeing the boy, which led her to file the child visitation lawsuit early in 2013. Conover claimed she could be considered the boy’s legal father as she met the standards for paternity. Because the child was born prior to the women’s marriage and not under the common-law, which presumes that both individuals are considered parents to a child if that child is born during the course of the marriage, in July 2013, the circuit court denied Michelle Conover visitation rights.
Baltimore Child Visitation Lawyers at Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC Handle Complex Child Custody Issues
Maryland child custody issues involving same-sex couples are complicated by unclear state legislation regarding same-sex divorce. If you are in a same-sex marriage or going through a same-sex divorce wherein children are involved, Baltimore child visitation lawyers at the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC have the experience to protect your family. We are dedicated to working with same-sex couples toward resolutions that are agreeable to all parties. Our Stevenson, Maryland law offices are conveniently located for easy accessibility throughout Baltimore County and Baltimore City. Call us today at 443-602-9522 or contact us online.