In or Out of Wedlock - Same-Sex Parenting Issues, Visitation and Adoption.

In August of 2015, the Arizona Supreme Court dealt with an interesting challenge to visitation, Same-Sex parents, and adoption.

What if one parent of the same sex partnership adopts a child and then they split, or even get married later? The Arizona Court of Appeals answered that question with a seemingly bizarre outcome.

The Court in Sheets v Mead (Reynolds) CA-SA 15-0042 heard a case where the trial Court granted the non-adoptive parent visitation against the adoptive parent's wishes. Arizona's controlling statute, A.R.S. §25-409 requires two conditions for what is called In-Loco Parentis visitation rights. Those two requirements are that the child was born out of wedlock and the child's legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.

Although the couple was not married at the time the petition was filed, the child was considered by the appeals court to be born in wedlock. The Court reached this conclusion by reference to it holding in JA-502394, 186 Ariz. 599. Where the Court held that "though adoption cannot change the physiological fact that a child was born to unmarried parents, "..the statute does effectively mandate that, after adoption and ever after, the child is indeed, before the law, born within 'lawful wedlock.'"

Although this result seems counterintuitive, it is a wakeup call for any couples, married or not, same sex or not that is in a relationship where only 1 parent has adopted the child.

To discuss other issues regarding child support or family law, please contact our Scottsdale family lawyers at Arizona Family Law Solutions today. 

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