A Supreme Court in one state has ruled that a custody case needs to go back to the lower court in order to ensure that a mother’s rights are upheld. The majority ruled that a court may have relied too heavily on a child advocate and on one parent’s religious beliefs when its decision was rendered in a case dealing with same sex divorce/family law matters. Some New York families may be interested in the outcome of the case once it is concluded.
The case involved a divorce between a husband and wife who were married for approximately 20 years when the wife discussed with her husband her belief that she is a lesbian. Within two years, the couple had obtained a divorce. The judge who ruled on the custody aspect of the dissolution awarded custody of the three sons to the father. The mother took her fight for custody to the highest court in her state.
The Supreme Court of Washington state determined that the judge may have allowed the father’s religion to carry more weight when he ruled on sole custody and decision-making authority as far as the children are concerned. The court advocate suggested that the mother’s decision to change her lifestyle choices may have created a difficult situation for the children, who were raised in a conservative church and attended religious schools. The judge in the lower court stated that he did not view the mother’s sexual orientation as a negative, but said that she should refrain from discussing it or religious topics with her children.
The Supreme Court ruled that the case should return to the lower court and be heard by a different judge in order to be as impartial as possible. There was no information as to when the case would be rescheduled. New York families who are struggling with these types of issues may wish to consult with an attorney who is experienced in same sex divorce/family law matters in order to ensure the rights of the individuals involved are protected.
Source: thenewstribune.com, “Lesbian mom’s sexual orientation wrongly considered in custody case, state Supreme Court says“, Alexis Krell, April 6, 2017