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Child custody battle focused on what defines a parent

Not every child-related situation in Connecticut courtrooms involves married mothers and fathers. In fact, some child custody battles occur between people who were never married in the first place. An ongoing litigation in another state happens to be between two women.

Although some believe the custody fight over a young boy has to do with issues about the rights of same-sex couples, others say it's not about that at all. While the two parties are, in fact, women, and they did have a sexual relationship at one time, the principal issue is that one of the women legally adopted the boy (the parties separated about 18 months before the adoption was approved, and just one of the women completed the process) and the other eventually stood as his godmother. The adoptive mother of the child subsequently decided to move with him back to her native homeland in Great Britain, but the godmother initially halted those plans by filing an application in court the day before the mother and child were set to travel.

The godmother claimed that she too was his parent and should have a say in where he lives. A lengthy court battle ensued. Representatives for the godmother asserted that emotional bonds define parenting more than biological or adoptive connections.

In this particular case, the New York court ruled in the adoptive mother's favor, in part due to the fact that there was no continuing preconceived plan for the godmother to become the child's parent; instead, the two women severed their ties and only the now-adoptive mother pursued the process of becoming the boy's mother, hence a continuing plan of intent to be a parent appears to be a crucial consideration the state uses to classify someone as a parent in these circumstances. Not every Connecticut child custody situation is as fueled with anger and controversy as this particular case. However, even in more basic situations, it's typically best to secure family law assistance from an experienced attorney before heading to court.

Source: The New Yorker, "What Makes a Parent?", Ian Parker, Accessed on June 13, 2017

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