Estates & Trusts § 1-208(b) provides a rule to determine the paternity of a child born to unmarried parents. The statute declares that the child is the child of the mother but is considered the child of the father if certain circumstances exist. One such circumstance is if the purported father subsequently marries the mother and acknowledges himself to be the father.
The Court of Special Appeals, in a yet-to-be published ruling, refused to extend the statute to give standing to a non-biological, non-adoptive parent of a same-sex couple upon divorce. Whether this case will be released for publication upon review is unknown at the time of submission of this article. Regardless of the eventual outcome, the case presents difficult standing and constitutional issues that are not going away.
Conover v. Conover, 2015 WL 5037039 (8/26/15), involves the divorce of Michelle and Brittany Conover, who were married in the District of Columbia a few months after it permitted same-sex marriages. Brittany became pregnant by artificial insemination, giving birth to a son shortly before the marriage. Evidence on the record indicated that Michelle was involved in the decision to artificially inseminate and that Brittany on occasion referred to Michelle as the child’s “father”. Upon divorce, Michelle filed for custody and visitation rights. [Read more…]