After a relationship, in vitro fertilization and then a breakup, one woman wants a custody agreement with her former partner so she can see her child. The issue at hand is that she is not the biological mother of the child, but she says she did act as a mother to the child during her lesbian relationship with his biological mother. The same-sex custody matter has brought national attention and is an issue that is likely relevant for couples caught in similar situations in Ohio.
The case of whether or not she could begin the custody process arose after the couple split. They had been together since 1985, spending more than a decade with each other before they decided to have a child. One of the women went through in vitro fertilization, and she gave birth to a boy in January 2001. Five years later, the couple separated, and custody went to the biological mother. The non-biological mother is now hoping to receive visitation rights. In her case, she is arguing that since she paid a portion of the in vitro fertilization and has tried to see the child since the couple split, she has the right to see the boy.
In the past, she has been allowed to contact him via telephone, but this was discontinued when the biological mother expressed concerns over the interactions. A testimony from the child was used in the decision reversal as well.
The woman, still hoping to stay in contact with the boy, appealed the decision. She had never filed for any adoptive rights when the couple was together, but since she had performed parental duties during the relationship, a high court has decided to give her the ability to pursue legal parental rights. It will be interesting to see what comes of this case.
Source: LifeSite News, “Lesbian ex-partners can seek child custody from biological mother: Nebraska high court,” Kathleen Gilbert, Aug. 31, 2011