The issue of whether same-sex partners are entitled to custody rights continues to produce different court decisions around the country. In one recent case, a North Carolina woman conceived a child through artificial insemination, and her partner sought to adopt the child. A judge allowed the adoption. When the couple later split up, the partner sought parental rights.
The state supreme court first decided that the adoption was invalid (despite what the judge had ruled), because North Carolina law doesn’t allow for adoption in this situation.
However, the court went on to say that joint custody was nevertheless appropriate in this case, because it was in the best interests of the child.
A similar case happened in Wisconsin. A mother gave birth to a child via artificial insemination, and a judge – with the mother’s consent – granted parental rights to her partner. The couple later split up.
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals decided that the state’s artificial insemination law didn’t allow the partner to have parental rights, because it only applies to a mother’s husband, not to a same-sex partner.
However, the court said that the partner in this case could be treated as a parent anyway, because the mother had consented to the arrangement for a long time without complaining and it wouldn’t be fair to allow her to change her mind now.