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Hoge Partners, PLLC

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Louisville, Kentucky 40202

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Phone:  (502) 583-2005

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Gay & Lesbian Couples in Kentucky;
Bisexual and Transgendered Parents in Kentucky

It was not until 2015 that Kentucky finally recognized same-sex marriages.  However, Kentucky continues to not recognize common law marriages.

For unmarried couples, many legal rights, issues and problems arise when people have significant others or life partners and live together without a legal marriage.   (See additional discussion of unmarried couples.)

Traditionally, unmarried domestic partners (whether of opposite sexes or of the same sex) have not enjoyed property rights that resemble those available to married persons. Kentucky Revised Statute 403, et seq., defines rights and duties for married couples, but there is no such governing law for unmarried parties. Generally, if there is no binding agreement in place, you will need a lawyer to protect your rights.

But, with same-sex marriages finally being recognized in Kentucky, one might be concerned about resolving relationship problems that befall any type of marriage.

What Happens When a Same-Sex Marriage Fails?

The answer is simple:  The same as heterosexual marriages!  The parties have the right to seek a legal separation, an annulment, a divorce or even pursue reconciliation through counseling and marriage therapy.  Kentucky is still updating its forms and some procedures, but the process itself for these remedies is the same, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the parties involved.

What About Children of Non-Heterosexual Couples?

Generally, the same rules will apply to children of a married same-sex couple as would to a heterosexual couple.  The "best interest of the child" is always going to be the primary concern for the courts.

Several years before the legalization of same-sex marriages, the Kentucky Supreme Court made a landmark decision on January 21, 2010 in the case of Mullins v. Picklesimer.  The case involves two women who were previously a lesbian couple.  One of them gave birth to a child through artificial insemination.  The women filed a joint custody agreement the following year (2006) but split up two months later.  Several months later, the birth mother denied her former partner contact with the child, giving rise to several years of legal action.

That 2010 decision reversed a Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling saying that the non-birth mother "lacked standing" to pursue joint custody of the boy, who was then 5, because she was not technically a parent.

The high court of Kentucky's ruling is significant to same-gender couples as well as to family members such as grandparents and also non-related persons who have been significantly involved in raising children as it may give them legal standing to seek custody even if they are not a biological parent if doing so is in the best interest of the child.

In Mullins v. Picklesimer, the majority of the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the former couple made multiple decisions about the child before and after his birth, with the non-biological person caring for the boy while the women were together and for five months after they split up.  "This would distinguish the nonparent acting as a parent to the child from a grandparent, a baby-sitter, or a boyfriend or girlfriend of the parent, who watched the child for the parent, but who was never intended by the parent to be doing so in the same capacity of another parent," wrote Justice Wil Schroeder in the majority opinion.

The dissenting minority of the Kentucky Supreme Court expressed concern that this decision opens the door for a host of people to petition for joint custody, so long as they can show shared participation in child rearing, and threatens to destabilize some families.

Kentucky has now joined at least 17 other states in recognizing "de facto" parents over the objections of "fit" biological parents.

Biological or de facto parents in Kentucky-- whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered or otherwise -- have specific rights in Kentucky.  If you are concerned about protecting or enforcing your rights as a LGBTQ parent, please make an appointment with our office for an initial consultation. 

LGBTQ Legal Issues:

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and non-heterosexual couples and individuals have other significant legal issues, such as:

The attorneys at Hoge Partners, PLLC will be happy to talk to you about your legal options affected by gender identity and/or sexual orientation.  Call us today.