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Non-biological parent awarded shared custody

The rights of same-sex parents have been evolving in America. In one case, a Pennsylvania appeals court recently upheld a trial court opinion that granted shared child custody to both a child's biological and non-biological mothers.

The same-sex parents were involved in a dedicated romantic relationship in 2012 when they decided to conceive a child by impregnating one of them through artificial insemination from her partner's brother. They planned and prepared for the child's birth, decorated a nursery and shopped for baby supplies. The partner who did not carry the baby was also at the child's birth and selected the child's first name.

They both decided to give the child the non-carrying partner's surname. Shortly after the child was born, the couple broke up. The biological mother argued on appeal that her partner did not adequately show that she should have the same amount of custody. Also, the law favors the biological parent.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court, however, found that the mothers had an informal agreement to share physical custody on a weekly basis from June of 2014 to February of 2018. It referred to the trial court's finding that the child was doing well in this equal custody agreement for 70 percent of his life. The only reason that the biological mother was upset and ended the week-to-week custody arraignment, according to the court, was that her former partner contacted her workplace.

The evidence refuted the legal custody presumption held by the biological mother. The Court also approved of the finding that shared legal and physical custody was in the best interests of the child.

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