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Youngster Born Previous to Identical-Intercourse Marriage Is Youngster of Marriage

Tennessee little one custody and identical intercourse marriage case abstract in divorce.

Cedra Deanntre Potts (Taylor) v. Starr Anastasia Potts

Youngster Born Previous to Identical-Intercourse Marriage Is Youngster of Marriage

Previous to the authorized recognition of same-sex marriage, the events on this Davidson County, Tennessee, case participated in civil union ceremonies, and determined to have kids via in vitro fertilization.  The plaintiff was impregnated with embryos created from plaintiff’s eggs and donated sperm.  Each events signed a number of paperwork as “potential guardian.”  The plaintiff was recognized as “affected person,” and the defendant was recognized as “companion.”

In 2014, the plaintiff gave beginning to twins.  A couple of yr later, same-sex marriage was acknowledged, and so they married.  However in 2017, the plaintiff filed for divorce.  Her grievance said that there have been no kids born of the wedding.  The defendant took the place that she was a authorized guardian.

The defendant relied on a Tennessee statute which offered {that a} man is presumed to be the daddy in the event that they tried to marry, however the marriage was not authorized.  She argued that this statute utilized, given the civil union ceremonies that had taken place previous to the beginning.

The trial courtroom sided with the defendant and ordered the defendant’s identify added to the beginning certificates.  The plaintiff was named main residential guardian, and the defendant was granted 120 days of parenting time.

Three months later, the plaintiff made a movement to have the judgment put aside on the grounds that there was no material jurisdiction.  She argued that the courtroom had no jurisdiction to grant custody to a non-parent.  The defendant took the place that the parentage statute needed to be construed in a gender-neutral trend.  The trial courtroom denied the movement and let its earlier ruling stand.  The plaintiff then appealed to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.

The appeals courtroom first dominated that the problem of jurisdiction was intertwined with the problem of standing:  If the defendant had standing as a “guardian” underneath the statutes, then the courtroom had jurisdiction over the custody of the kids.

To find out whether or not she was a “guardian,” the courtroom first take a look at the statute governing embryo transfers.  Below that statute, the clinic should enter right into a contract with the “recipient meant dad and mom.”  On this case, each the plaintiff and the defendant took that function.

The plaintiff argued that the statute didn’t apply, as a result of it didn’t contain a donated embryo.  Nevertheless, the courtroom held this issue was not dispositive.  Equally, the truth that the defendant was not a genetic guardian was not dispositive.  The courtroom concluded that the legislature meant that contract rules, and never biology, would outline who was a guardian in these conditions.

For these causes, the Courtroom of Appeals concluded that the defendant was a authorized guardian, and accordingly, the decrease courtroom had jurisdiction over the case.  Due to this fact, it affirmed the judgment of the trial courtroom in all respects.

No. M2020–00170-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. June 2,  2021).

See authentic opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To be taught extra, see Child Custody Laws in Tennessee.

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