Civil unions between same-sex couples have been legal in Colorado for only a short time, meaning there are still many issues through which families are attempting to navigate. One such area relates to the parental rights after a divorce when one parent does not have a biological tie to a child. A recent out-of-state case tackled this exact question of child custody, and though it has no legal influence here, it could be indicative of how courts here might handle a similar situation.
The case involved two women who had a child before their state recognized civil unions or gay marriage. The child was biologically related to one woman and the other was named a legal guardian shortly after the baby's birth. When the women selected a sperm donor, they took care to choose a donor who had a similar background to the other woman. They were both involved in her day-to-day care until they decided to separate. They continued to raise the girl together until the biological mother ended the relationship in 2013.
The biological mother of the girl, who is now 12 years old, attempted to have her new husband adopt her daughter. The other mother of the girl expressed her desire to continue to co-parent. Though it was originally ruled that the adoption could proceed, the state Supreme Court eventually annulled that decision and ordered a new hearing. That hearing has not taken place at this time.
Parents of all types, whether they are heterosexual or in a same-sex relationship, want only what is best for their children. When determining child custody, if it is at all possible, parents need to communicate and be open to an agreement that will be in the best interest of the child. Though this particular case did not happen in Colorado, families can learn from the proceedings and perhaps make plans for their own futures.
Source: seacoastonline.com, "Court sides with mother's ex-partner in same-sex custody case", Lynne Tuohy, July 3, 2014