Deciding on what will happen with the children after a couple divorces is never a simple or easy matter in Arizona or any other state. However, for many same-sex couples, child custody can present a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. An example is found in a couple who married in one state and sought divorce in another. One of those women has now been effectively removed from the lives of her two sons.
The two women were living in a committed relationship when they decided to expand their family. Because same-sex marriage was not permitted in their state of residence, they decided that one of the women would legally adopt a child, and soon, the couple welcomed a six-year-old boy into their home. Two years later, the women traveled to a different state and were married.
When they wanted to add another child to their family, they decided that the same woman who adopted their first child would give birth to their second child by way of in-vitro fertilization. They ultimately gave birth to a baby boy, but their marriage encountered difficulties a couple of years later. When one of the women sought a divorce from the state where they married, they were told that one of the two of them would have to reside in that state for at least a year prior to divorcing. Their own state would not process the divorce due to the fact that it did not recognize same-sex marriage.
This left the woman with no legal or biological connection to the boys in a difficult child custody position. A trial date has been set, and she will continue to pursue child custody rights. However, as is the case for many same-sex couples in Arizona and elsewhere, she may face an uphill battle.
Source: NBC News, "For Some Same-Sex Couples, Divorce Is a Legal Nightmare", Julie Compton, Sept. 7, 2016