Illinois Supreme Court: non-parents cannot pretend to be parents to obtain custody of children

Texas seizes polygamist group’s secluded ranch

Ex-FLDS man wins child custody case involving Warren Jeffs

Fla: Judge’s decision on ‘socialization’ concerns homeschoolers

Grandparent visitation case appealed to ND Supreme Court

Forgetta About the Child. “Custody Battle Raises Questions About the Rights of Women”

Arkansas Supreme Court reverses same sex partner cohabitation restriction in custody case

Family law dispute not moot after child’s return

Custody Case in Scotland Goes Before U.S. Justices

Colorado Supreme Court on Parents’ Getting Back Custody of Children After Voluntarily Appointing Temporary Guardians

Civil Gideon in Deadbeat Dad Cases Would Be ‘Massive’ Change, Lawyer Tells Justices

Texas Appeals Court Approves Registration of California Same-Sex Custody Decree

    Leonard Link: “The Texas Court of Appeals (1st District – Houston) ruled on February 10 that the Harris County District Court had properly ordered the registration of a California parentage judgment involving a gay male couple who were intended parents under a gestational surrogacy agreement. Ruling unanimously in Berwick v. Wagner, No. 01-09-00834-CV, the court found that such registration complied with the requirements under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), a uniform law that has been adopted by both states.”

  • Posted: 02/18/2011
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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Dad: Ex-wife too religiously extreme for son

Mother’s religious beliefs lead to award of health care decision making to father

Italian court: Lesbian mother cannot be denied custody

NH Supreme Court vacates grandparent visit order

“Gay marriages, civil unions and the space between them”

UK: New lesbian couple in row with their baby’s father

UK: “Lesbian mother loses battle to stop gay father spending time with children”

American court refuses to honor Lebanese Islamic court child custody order

Canadian “gay” custody battle could redefine parenthood

Top Malaysian court fails to rule on child conversion

UK: “Gay sperm donor fights lesbian mother over access to children”

Supreme Court allows child custody ruling in favor of former lesbian partner versus mom to stand

Civil “rights” gained on the backs of little children

Vt. Supreme Court approves transfer of custody from mom to former lesbian partner

MS: Free exercise challenge to custody decree rejected

Husband in contempt for teaching child Christian faith in violation of divorce settlement

UK lesbian mother wins child support court battle in European Court of Human Rights

“California sperm donor stalks lesbian mother”

Law Review: Maternal and Joint Custody Presumptions for Unmarried Parents: Constitutional and Policy Considerations in Massachusetts and Beyond

    Maternal and Joint Custody Presumptions for Unmarried Parents: Constitutional and Policy Considerations in Massachusetts and Beyond
    Bernardo Cuadra, 32 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 599 (2010)

    “This Note examines the statutory custodial presumptions that distinguish the unmarried father from the unmarried mother, as well as from divorcing parents, with a focus on Massachusetts legal custody awards. Given the gender-based distinction built into these statutes and the distinctions drawn between the putative father and the divorcing father, this Note first asks if these statutes are subject to constitutional challenge. Second, this Note questions if these statutes reflect sound policy decisions by evaluating the benefits of joint custody arrangements. Third, this Note focuses on the Massachusetts custody statute to determine if it can be more narrowly crafted to protect the interests of willing and involved unwed fathers, especially those similarly situated to their child’s unwed mother. This Note ultimately argues that the Massachusetts statutes should be amended to ensure equal treatment of unmarried fathers in custody disputes.”

  • Posted: 08/23/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family

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Custody case calls on Supreme Court

N.Y. Appellate Division revives child support order against lesbian co-parent

    Leonard Link: “A five-member panel of the New York Appellate Division, 2nd Department, unanimously ruled on August 3 that a woman is obligated to make child support payments to her former same-sex partner. Reconsidering the case after the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, had reversed the appellate division’s previous ruling that the Family Court did not have jurisdiction over the child support claim because New York State did not recognize the non-biological mother as a parent of the child, the Appellate Division panel now endorsed the use of the doctrine of equitable estoppel to resolve the case. In the Matter of H.M. v. E.T., 2007-09323 (Aug. 3, 2010).”

  • Posted: 08/05/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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IN: May child’s grandfather adopt the child, while the child’s mother retains her parental rights?

    Eugene Volokh writing at The Volokh Conspiracy: “That’s the issue in In re Adoption of A.M., decided yesterday by the Indiana Court of Appeals. The biological father was fine with the adoption, which terminated father’s parental rights — the plan was basically for the grandfather (on the mother’s side) to take on the father role, with the mother retaining her role as mother. Indiana law appears not to allow this; the relevant statutes provide that an adoption severs both biological parents’ parental rights, unless ‘the adoptive parent of a child is married to a biological parent [or previous adoptive parent] of the child.’ There is no provision for a child’s parents to switch from biomom+biodad to biomom+someone who isn’t married to biomom.”

  • Posted: 07/26/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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Law Review: Protecting the Rights of Coparents and the Best Interests of Their Children

    Redefining the Legal Family: Protecting the Rights of Coparents and the Best Interests of Their Children
    Marissa Wiley, 38 Hofstra L. Rev. 319 (2009)

    “Part II of this Note begins by explaining the ways in which a gay or lesbian coparent can claim some degree of parental rights over his or her former partner’s biological child, who was planned for, conceived, and raised within the context of a committed same-sex relationship. The benefits and weaknesses of every method are examined in each section of this Part. Section A details second-parent adoption. Section B describes coparenting agreements. Section C discusses the judicial doctrines of de facto parenthood, in loco parentis, and equitable estoppel. Section D expounds the legislative solutions of same-sex marriage, alternatives to marriage, and third party statutes. Part III turns to the evolution of the rights of coparents in New York State, examining the past in Section A and detailing the transition to the present in Section B. Section B reviews New York State’s approach to each method of asserting parental rights. Part IV identifies changes that need to be made in the law of New York in order to suit the needs of the modern family. Part V concludes that each remedy must be available to same-sex coparents to protect the best interests of the children of same-sex couples.”

  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family

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Court says mother’s religious practices inadmissible in custody dispute

Law Review: The Texas Mis-Step: Why the Largest Child Removal in Modern U.S. History Failed

    Jessica Dixon Weaver, The Texas Mis-Step: Why the Largest Child Removal in Modern U.S. History Failed (2010). William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 16, p. 1, 2010; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 58. Available at SSRN:

    “This article sets forth the historical and legal reasons as to how the state of Texas botched the removal of 439 children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints’ parents residing in El Dorado, Texas. The Department of Family and Protective Services in Texas overreached its authority by treating this case like a class action removal based on an impermissible legal argument, rather than focusing on the facts and circumstances that could have been substantiated for a select group of children at risk. This impermissible legal argument regarding the ‘pervasive belief system’ of a polygamist sect that allowed minor females to spiritually marry older adult males sparked questions of how far the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment go in protecting religious freedom and parental rights. Ultimately, there was a failure on both sides of the case – harm caused by the unnecessary removal of hundreds of children who were not in immediate danger of abuse, and harm caused by the return of teenage girls who were at risk for sexual abuse on the Yearning For Zion Ranch. The article concludes by discussing key factors that would have made a difference in the outcome of the case and the impact of this decision on the interrelationship between parents, the state, and the child.”

  • Posted: 07/07/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty
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TN Appeals Court rejects paramour restriction for lesbian mom

    Leonard Link: “Custody of the children is shared, with the birth parents having various designations as primary residential parent, the children going back and forth at various times and being separated at various times. The current dispute reaches the court of appeals because of the insistence by Gibson County Chancellor George Ellis on including and enforcing a ‘paramour provision’ in the court’s order governing custody and visitation, as part of the latest round of revisions in the parenting plan. This provision says that when a child is in residence, an unmarried partner of the parent may not be there overnight. … Rather than remand for further consideration by the trial court, the court of appeals reversed outright the trial court’s ‘finding’ that a paramour provision was in the best interest of the children, and ordered that costs of the appeal be awarded to Angel.”

  • Posted: 07/02/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family

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Tennessee court rules mother’s lesbian partner can remain in home during visits with her children

Vt. court hears arguments in lesbian custody case

Vt Supreme Court to hear lesbian custody appeal

Law Review: Parental Custody Disputes: Criteria Used by the Courts in Central Europe

Interfaith marriages are rising fast, but they’re failing fast too

    Washington Post: “According to the General Social Survey, 15 percent of U.S. households were mixed-faith in 1988. That number rose to 25 percent by 2006, and the increase shows no signs of slowing . . . But the effects on the marriages themselves can be tragic — it is an open secret among academics that tsk-tsking grandmothers may be right. According to calculations based on the American Religious Identification Survey of 2001, people who had been in mixed-religion marriages were three times more likely to be divorced or separated than those who were in same-religion marriages.”

  • Posted: 06/09/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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Vt. lawyer: Girl, Va. lesbian mom may have fled US

“Girl, Va. mom missing from Vt. gay custody fight”

Law Review: The marginalization of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canadian child custody cases

    Dr. S. Magnet and Heather Ann Hillsburg, Protecting Children’s ‘Best Interests’: Mature Minors, Faith and Canadian Jurisprudence (April 13, 2010). Available at SSRN:

    “Jehovah’s Witnesses are consistently marginalized within the Canadian legal system. This discrimination is particularly noticeable in cases involving children such as child custody battles, as well as in the language used at law to describe the Witness religion. Children are characterized at law as ‘choosing’ mainstream religion, whereas Witness elders “coerce”, “force” or “inculcate” children into a religion that will ultimately harm them. The biases within this language played a key role in the 2009 A.C. v. Manitoba decision. In this case, the court rules that a 15 year-old girl suffering from Crohn’s disease was ordered to undergo a blood transfusion against her will. The court grounded its decision in sections 25(8) and 25(9) of the Canadian child and family services act, stipulating that a child could be subjected to medial treatment that doctors deemed to be in their ‘best interests’, and that a child under the age of 16, unless deemed to be a mature minor by psychiatrists, could not make their own medical decisions. While psychiatrists decided that A.C. was a mature minor, the court overruled these findings. A.C. challenged the decision on the grounds that sections 25(8) and 25(9) of the Child and Family Services were arbitrary and discriminatory, but was ultimately forced to undergo a blood transfusion.”

  • Posted: 06/01/2010
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  • Category: Global: Religious Liberty
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Vietnam: Murdered Christian’s widow could lose her children

New York’s Highest Court Recognizes A Lesbian Co-Parent’s Rights, But Affirms an Unpopular Precedent: Part Two in a Two-Part Series

Law and family in Malaysia

“Kids caught in gay splits: Inseminated mother disputes ex-partner’s shared custody”

IL: Religion at center of another Chicago custody battle

Finland dismisses mother’s appeal of decision to prohibit her son from speaking Russian, praying and wearing a cross

Malaysia top court hears landmark religious dispute

UT: Order bars dad from discussing polygamy

IL: Religious differences fuel custody battles

Donated frozen embryos spawn dueling lawsuits

Human Rights Commission tells Chile: “End discrimination against gays”

EU proposes simplified international divorce laws

UK: Christian foster parents punished when their foster child converts from Islam

LA: Court Says Non-Custodial Parent May Share Religion With Child

Michigan: “A test of same-sex custody rights: Nonbiological parent fighting for children”

Lisa Miller’s Daughter Appeared Traumatized by Visits with Lesbian ‘Mother,’ Court Documents Reveal

CA: Former lesbian partners settle custody dispute

Ohio Muslim-to-Christian teen convert in court

Chicago father faces jail for bringing daughter to church

Penn. Superior Court overrules presumption against “gay parental custody”

Washington Supreme Court clarifies standard for nonparental custody petitions

    In re Custody of: E.A.T.W. and E.Y.W., No. No. 81945-9 (Wash. Feb. 25, 2010)

    J.M. JOHNSON, J. — Vito and Yasuko Grieco brought a nonparental custody action for permanent custody of their two grandsons, E.A.T.W. and E.Y.W., under chapter 26.10 RCW. The superior court found adequate cause to proceed to a hearing on the Griecos’ petition based solely on the boys In re Custody of Wilson, No. 81945-9 being in the Griecos’ custody for several years. Sachi Wilson, the boys’ father, argues RCW 26.10.032 also requires the Griecos to set forth facts establishing cause for an order on the merits before any hearing may occur.

    We hold that RCW 26.10.032 requires a superior court judge to deny a hearing on a motion for a third party custody order unless the nonparent submits an affidavit (1) declaring the child is not in the physical custody of one of its parents or neither parent is a suitable custodian and (2) setting forth facts supporting the requested custody order. The facts supporting the requested custody order must show adequate cause that the parent is unfit or that placing the child with the parent would result in actual detriment to the child’s growth and development. We remand to the superior court for an adequate cause determination based on the correct legal standard.

  • Posted: 02/25/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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California: Mom must share custody with ex lesbian partner