On August 30, 2016 in a landmark case, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that non-biological, non-married, non-adoptive parents can seek custody and visitation of a child born within their relationship, with the biological parent’s consent.
The huge impact of such a ruling cannot be overstated. The case has substantial ramifications for parents of same-sex couples, as well as couples who never married and later split up. Previously, individuals in either circumstance were treated as if they were total strangers to the child in the eyes of family court, and had no legal standing to seek custody or visitation. Now, thanks to this case, “where a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together, the non-biological, non-adoptive partner has standing to seek visitation and custody.”