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Same-sex couple facing difficult child custody battle

Many people in Colorado welcomed the Supreme Court's decision legitimizing same-sex marriage. The change will make a world of difference to non-traditional families across the nation. It is important to understand, however, that same-sex couples still face considerable challenges when it comes to matters of child custody.

An example is found in the case of a couple comprised of two women, who expanded their family and are now seeking a divorce. The pair were living in a committed relationship when they decided to have a child. They were unable to marry in their state of residence, so the decision was made that one of the women would adopt a little boy, whom they welcomed into their home. Two years later, they travelled to another state and got married.

They then decided to have another child, and this time the same woman who adopted went through in-vitro fertilization to have their second son. When the relationship soured, the couple filed for divorce in the state where they were married, but they were told that one of them would need to reside there for at least a year prior to seeking a divorce. The women cannot divorce in their own state because same-sex marriage was not recognized at the time they were married.

This leaves the woman who did not adopt or give birth with very little rights to see her two sons. She is fighting the matter in court, but the outcome is far from certain. This couple's case is an example of the unique challenges that same-sex couples continue to face in regard to child custody. Readers in Colorado will continue to follow this case, which could set legal precedent in the couple's state of residence, and help guide similar cases in other jurisdictions.

Source: NBC News, "For Some Same-Sex Couples, Divorce Is a Legal Nightmare", Julie Compton, Sept. 7, 2016

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