Although Colorado has not legalized same-sex marriage, there are many same-sex couples embroiled in a legal battle for child custody. These cases are difficult, to say the least, for not only the parents and children, but for the courts. A recent ruling by the Court of Appeals in Colorado, though, may make it easier for non-biological same-sex parents to gain custody of a child.
The case involved a same-sex couple with a little girl who is now 5 years old. When the couple decided to go their separate ways in 2011, the biological mother would not let her ex-partner see the child. The child was conceived when a friend and the biological mother had sex after several attempts to get pregnant by alternative means failed. The biological father did not want anything to do with the child and relinquished his rights.
According to reports, the non-biological mother thought her partner became pregnant by artificial insemination. After the breakup, the non-biological mother used the Uniform Parentage Act as a basis to file for maternity. A lower court judge ruled against the non-biological mother. She appealed, successfully, claiming that the lower court was in error in its ruling. She argued that the child has a “presumptive mother” as well as a biological mother.
Colorado courts are not alone in dealing with issues of this nature. The above case isn’t over yet, though, as the biological mother may still appeal the ruling to the state’s Supreme Court.
Child custody cases, whether involving opposite-sex or same-sex couples, are emotional and often acrimonious. Family law attorneys work diligently to ensure that the best interests of the child are paramount, while still protecting their rights of their clients.
Source: Denver Post, “Appeals court decision big step for same-sex parents in custody cases” Jordan Steffen, Dec. 14, 2013