I read an interesting article regarding a lesbian couple and the quest to settle their paternity dispute. The case had apparently drawn a lot of attention because the biological mother had become involved with the sperm donor creating a paternity conundrum.
An agreement was reached this week stating that both women will be recognized as legal parents of their twins. It’s not clear what rights if any were given to the donor. The women split just over a year and half after their commitment ceremony, never registered as a domestic partnership with the state though they were registered as such with the non-biological mother’s insurance.
Both women are listed as parents on the children’s birth certificate, and the boys carry a hyphenated last name. The biological mother stated that they had never formalized their relationship because of continual problems and no legal arrangements were made between them or the sperm donor about parental rights before or after the children were born.
The two women opted to settle, but the biological mother’s attorney felt that had the biological parents decided to litigate they would have been successful at trial since California law is very clear that there is no presumed parent issue when you have both biological parents asserting their rights to their children and it’s not possible to have custody or visitation rights when you do not meet the criteria of a presumed parent.
However the non-biological mother’s attorney disagreed, stating that the two women had agreed to parent the children together before the sperm donor became an issue. This case poses many challenges for non traditional families. The case law is just beginning to be written and the legal battle field is ripe for challenges. You should always attempt to do things as legally as possible so that whenever a challenge comes up you are prepared to show that you’ve done everything in your power to be legal and correct in the family that you are asserting you are a part of. The non biological mother could have very well lost any rights once the sperm donor asserted a right to paternity. In the LGBT friendly Family law offices, we routinely handle with sensitivity and compassion family law for the LGBT community. Should you have any LGBT child custody matters please contact my office.