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Same-sex partner restricted from custody

Courts have been facing new issues after legal rights were granted to same-sex couples. In a unique case, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that a woman was not the legal parent of her same-sex partner's biological son. The court denied her request for partial child custody.

The couple was living in Florida when one of the partners underwent intrauterine insemination with an anonymous sperm donor and gave birth in 2006. Six years later, the couple separated. The biological mother and her son moved to Pennsylvania. The other partner did not adopt the son when the couple lived together. However, she claimed that both parents agreed to co-parent the boy and that she acted as one of the child's mothers.

The biological mother disagreed with this argument. She said that the other partner only reluctantly agreed to have the child and asked her and her son to move out of their household. She also provided little financial help and removed the child from her health insurance after the couple ended their relationship. The other partner saw the child only once after they separated, according to the biological mother.

Pennsylvania law grants custody rights only to biological parents, people who act as parents and, in some cases, grandparents. The court found that the partner did not have parental rights because her limited contact with the child showed that she did not discharge the duties of a parent or assume the status of a parent. The child, according to the lower court, was well-adjusted and did not want to see his non-biological mother.

An attorney can help parents deal with these difficult issues. With an attorney, a parent may seek a reasonable custody or visitation order that helps protect the best interests of the child.

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