Over the past several years, there have been changes to laws that affect families and children. With the passage of marriage equality in 2015 by the Supreme Court, other changes regarding child custody have been undertaken in several states. However, there is concern that one case submitted to the Supreme Court has the potential to adversely impact parental rights in Texas and elsewhere.
The matter is over the biological rights of a father who has lost custody of his twin children. The children were carried to term through a surrogacy contract with the man's sister who surrendered any parental rights. Though the man was in a relationship with a partner, that partner did not pursue any legal claim to the children through adoption or otherwise. When the relationship ended, the father moved with his children to another state.
In 2016, the man's former state began deciding custody cases based on a ruling that expanded parental rights. At that time, the man's former partner and biological mother sued for custody based on the former partner's purported "intent to parent" after the twins' birth. A New York court granted the petition, and the children were removed from their biological father's custody on the premise that he had left the state without permission.
The case has been submitted to the Supreme Court for consideration. The New York court made its determination based on the desires of an individual to parent children to which he has no legal or biological ties. There are concerns that such a precedent could erode parental rights and could negate the best interests of any children involved. Texas parents who are caught up in a child custody dispute may have many concerns over the well-being of their children. An experienced attorney can help arrange a parenting plan that can ensure that children are provided with the living arrangements that will best meet their particular needs.