Pennsylvanians might be interested in a same-sex divorce and child custody case that was decided in Tennessee in early May. Many conservative lawmakers in the state attempted to intervene in the case on several occasions.
According to reports, the spouses were two women who had conceived a child by artificial insemination. The judge initially ruled that the woman who was not the biological parent of the child could not be granted any custody right because she was not the husband of her spouse. The judge later changed his mind, but the conservative lawmakers attempted to intervene with the help of the Family Action Council.
The lawmakers were trying to assert that Tennessee law specifies that spouses must meet the definition of husband or wife before they can be granted custody rights. The Tennessee attorney general also got involved, arguing that Tennessee law should not be interpreted in a way that runs counter to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage. The judge granted the women's divorce on May 2, ordering that they share custody of their child. The Tennessee lawmakers are appealing the court's denial of their motions to intervene in the case.
Same-sex couples who plan to divorce may face added hurdles. They may benefit by seeking the advice of family law attorneys who are experienced in handling same-sex divorce and custody issues. Counsel may advise their clients about the various related issues and fight for their rights. They may also try to negotiate agreements in order to settle their clients' cases short of litigating the issues.
Source: LGBTQ Nation, "Lesbian couple granted divorce despite legislators' attempts to make it a circus", May 12, 2017.