What constitutes a family in New Jersey these days is often very different than what was considered traditional in times past. Laws have not necessarily been updated to reflect that and it often falls to the courts to interpret and make sense of the statutes that are on the books. When it comes to the issue of who is entitled to parental rights, things can sometimes take a controversial turn.
A judge in Tennessee recently ruled that a woman could be considered a “husband.” A married same-sex couple became parents through artificial insemination. While Tennessee does have laws granting rights to non-biological parents in artificial insemination cases, the statutes use the term “husband.” Ultimately, the judge determined that word should be interpreted as neutral in this case and that the non-biological parent had the rights of a husband even though she was a woman.
The case garnered much attention, as the state Legislature attempted to intervene. A bill was signed by the governor days after the ruling ordering courts to interpret mother and father using their “natural meaning.” The state Attorney General has expressed the opinion that family courts should be exempt from using this interpretation. It is the first law in Tennessee dealing with matters such as this since same-sex marriage became legal.
Contentious custody battles can be stressful and emotional. People who are dealing with issues related to time with their child may wish to contact an experienced attorney.
Source: USA Today, “Lesbian granted rights of ‘husband’ in same-sex divorce,” Jamie Satterfield, May 10, 2017