The topics of same–sex marriage and custody are a couple of things that many people in Columbus, Ohio, care deeply about. This subject is of national importance and thus stories from other states are relevant to all states. The most recent story comes out of Kansas and it concerns a same–sex custody matter.
According to reports, the Kansas Supreme Court recently applied the Kansas Parentage Act to a case concerning a same–sex couple, their two children and their break-up. By applying this act to the case, the Kansas Supreme Court has set a precedent of upholding co–parenting agreements for homosexual parents.
Two women who were living together decided that they wanted to have children and that they would use artificial insemination to do so. Each woman was supposed to carry a child to term but, due to health issues, only one could carry the children. Two children were born to the couple and both before and after the births, the couple drafted co–parenting agreements. The women and their two daughters lived together for some time before the biological mother decided to move out with the kids.
The nonbiological mother filed to have the co–parenting agreements upheld in court. She also filed to get an equitable distribution of the property they shared. A lower court applied the best interests of the children and determined that the case called for joint legal custody, giving the nonbiological mom parenting time. Property was evenly divided. The biological mother was not happy with this, so she appealed. The case made its way to the state Supreme Court where the ruling was upheld.
Separations of same-sex couples with children can be complex until these issues become legally defined. A favorable outcome in the current environment may well depend upon good legal counsel. As more and more cases of this sort are played out in the courts, they will become more clear cut and less complicated.
Source: Jurist, “Breaking New Ground In Kansas: Same-Sex Parental and Property Rights,” Linda D. Elrod, April 2, 2013