Rockland County Family Court Judge Rachel E. Tanguay, ruling on a question of first impression under New York Law, decided that when a lesbian couple had children together and raised them together as a family for several years before splitting up, the co-parent was entitled to an Order of Filiation recognizing her parental status for all purposes. Judge Tanguay’s ruling in A.F. v. K.H., 2017 N.Y. Slip Op. 27196, 2017 WL 2541877 (Fam. Ct., Rockland … <Read More>
It seems that anything that could go wrong did go wrong – legally speaking, that is – when William Cornwell died on June 19, 2014, believing he had made a will leaving his entire estate to Thomas Doyle, the man with whom he had shared his life for more than half a century. Cornwell had not involved a lawyer in preparing and signing the will, apparently, because no lawyer would have made the simple mistake … <Read More>
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled on October 4 that the former same-sex partner of a woman who gave birth to two children through donor insemination during the women’s relationship can seek to establish full legal parentage of the children under the state’s statute concerning parentage of children born out of wedlock. Partanen v. Gallagher, SJC-12018, 2016 Mass. LEXIS 759, 2016 WL 5721061.
Although the state’s courts have in the past recognized various rights … <Read More>
The New York Court of Appeals has overruled a quarter-century-old precedent, establishing a new rule for determining when somebody who is neither a biological nor an adoptive parent can seeking custody of a child. The opinion for the court by Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam in Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A. C.C., 2016 N.Y. LEXIS 2668, 2016 Westlaw 4507780 (August 30, 2016), provides that “where a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties … <Read More>
Claiming that a married lesbian had no need to adopt the child born to her same-sex spouse, Kings County (Brooklyn) Surrogate Court Judge Margarita Lopez Torres refused to entertain her adoption petition in Matter of Seb C-M, NYLJ 1202640083455 (Jan. 6, 2014).
Torres reasoned that under New York’s Marriage Equality Law, same-sex marriages enjoy the same presumptions of parental status that are accorded to different-sex marriages. Thus, a child born to a married woman is … <Read More>
A panel of the New York Appellate Division, 2nd Department, in Brooklyn, ruled on November 13 that a lesbian can sue her former same-sex partner for breach of an alleged contract that they would share assets equally, including retirement contributions and earnings, after their relationship ended. While agreeing with the trial judge, Kings County Supreme Court Justice Yvonne Lewis, that plaintiff Laura Dee could not pursue an equitable claim on theories of constructive trust, unjust … <Read More>
U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones, II (E.D.Pa.), ruled July 29 that the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) should be construed, now that DOMA Section 3 has been declared unconstitutional, to recognize a same-sex marriage for purposes of an employee benefit plan when the married couple resided in a state that recognized the validity of the marriage. The ruling means that Jennifer J. Tobits will be entitled to a survivor’s benefit under the … <Read More>
Response by the “defendants” in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases to the Supreme Court’s June 26 rulings was swift.
Within hours after the Court announced that Section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional, the President had announced his “applause” for the decision and instruction to the Attorney General to coordinate with executive branch department heads to seek “smooth” implementation for federal recognition of lawfully-contracted same-sex marriages. Some of the quickest responses came rolling in right … <Read More>