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Supreme Court weighs in on complex child custody case

The Supreme Court of the United States may review cases that arise under a number of circumstances and there are a number of paths that California residents may follow to see their legal matters resolved in those chambers. The Supreme Court has jurisdiction over matters that arise under the Constitution of the United States, that arise in conflicts between different states, that arise between parties who live in separate states and that arise from conflicts related to other scenarios. Recently, the Supreme Court reviewed a unique child custody matter that arose between two separate states and affected the rights of two same-sex parents.

The controversy began in one state where the complaining party and her partner lived together as a long-term but unmarried couple. The complaining party's partner gave birth to their children and the complaining party adopted them. After moving together to another state, the couple separated and the complaining party sought to have custody and visitation with the kids. The court of the new state denied the complaining party any access to the children, stating that the original state should not have allowed the complaining party to adopt the kids as such an action violated that state's constitution.

The Supreme Court intervened by granting the complaining party a stay against the second state's ruling. Ultimately stating that the second state should have recognized the adoption that occurred in the first state under the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution, the complaining party may now have custody and access to the kids as the Supreme Court decides if it will hear the full controversy at a later date.

Same-sex couples can face unique child custody and visitation challenges when they marry, divorce and adopt children. Cases like this one may create new legal authority with regard to how such matters will be handled in the future. All individuals who have questions regarding their rights to child custody may want to get more information in order to have their inquiries addressed.

Source: Washington Post, "Supreme Court sides with lesbian mother in Alabama custody case," Robert Barnes, Dec. 14, 2015

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