Military divorce case centers on relinquishing parental rights

There have been numerous child custody cases in recent years that focus on same-sex couples and child custody matters. A current military divorce between same-sex spouses, however, is focused on a different type of parenting matter. A woman is asking her state's Supreme Court to dissolve her parental rights. The outcome could impact similar matters in Florida and across the nation. 

The woman claims that her wife gave birth to a child while the woman was deployed. That pregnancy was made possible by a sperm donor, which the woman claims was not something to which the couple had agreed. The woman was not present for the child's birth and claims to have not built a meaningful bond with the child. 

The case presents a challenge to the court in that it addresses the issue of consent. The matter is similar to cases where a woman stops taking birth control without the knowledge or consent of her husband. Another example is when a child is conceived as the result of adultery. In those instances, the husband is often held to the standard of father, even though his consent was not given. 

The outcome of this military divorce case will become part of legal precedent in how same-sex marriage rights are handled. This could influence how similar cases are dealt with in Florida and in all areas of the nation. The matter is unique because the vast majority of same-sex parentage matters that go before a court focus on granting parental status, not removing it.  

Source:, "Consent to having children at heart of same-sex military couple's child support case", Jennifer Sinco, Dec. 14, 2017

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