“Love doesn’t just come from biology,” said Allison Scollar after winning custody of her adoptive daughter over biological mother and former partner Brook Altman. The outcome in this custody case, believed to be the first of its kind in New York State, is a step closer to the law fully recognizing gay families and protecting their rights.
In custody cases involving gay parents, the biological parent typically wins custody over an adoptive parent. Judges tend to favor the biological bond as long as the parent demonstrates she/he is responsible enough to care for the child. The adoptive parent then becomes something of a second-class citizen regarding custody.
In this case, Manhattan Judge Gloria Sosa-Linter wrote that being the biological parent “does not give (Altman) an automatic priority over the adoptive parent.” Judge Sosa-Linter found that Scollar was the more responsible parent and looked out for the child’s best interests, while Altman, a successful and busy television producer, acted more like a friend or sister than a responsible parent.
There are general issues that come up in any custody dispute and criteria that judges look for to determine whether an individual has been responsible in their parental role. These are some of the key points that distinguished Scollar as a responsible parent:
Custodial disputes can be one of the hardest parts of any family separation. It gets even thornier for same-sex couples, as many of the family law issues are new to courts. If you have questions regarding your own situation, call the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis for a free consultation.
As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 28 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.
Alexandra M. Rockwood is a Senior Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis & Associates and has been with the firm since early 2020. She primarily practices in the areas of matrimonial and family law, including divorce, child custody, and child support. Alexandra is a practicing matrimonial and family law attorney as…