Wednesday, August 31, 2016

THE DECISION ON CUSTODY/VISITATION ON SAME SEX/PARTNER PARENTS





No. 91 - 92 The Matter of Brooke v. Elizabeth A.,The Matter of Estrellita A. v. Jennifer L.D., August 30, 2016, New York Court of Appeals:

"These two cases call upon us to assess the continued vitality of the rule promulgated in Matter of Alison D. v Virginia M. (77 NY2d 651 [1991]) -- namely that, in an unmarried couple, a partner without a biological or adoptive relation to a child is not that child's "parent" for purposes of standing to seek custody or visitation under Domestic Relations Law § 70 (a), notwithstanding their "established relationship with the child" (77 NY2d at 655).  Petitioners in these cases, who similarly lack any biological or adoptive connection to the subject children, argue that they should have standing to seek custody and visitation pursuant to Domestic Relations Law § 70 (a).  We agree that, in light of more recently delineated legal principles, the definition of "parent" established by this Court 25 years ago in Alison D. has become unworkable when applied to increasingly varied familial relationships.  Accordingly, today, we overrule Alison D. and hold that where a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together, the non-biological, non-adoptive partner has standing to seek visitation and custody under Domestic Relations Law § 70."

Just a note:  New York law gives grandparents the right to petition for visitation or, in exceptional circumstances, custody. Does this ruling expand the scope of "grandparent"?

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