We recently discussed an out of state case involving same-sex parents attempting to determine custody for the child they shared ("How to manage child custody for Colorado same-sex parents", July 15). That specific case would not set legal precedent here since it happened outside of Colorado, but it was only a matter of time before a similar situation occurred to a family in the Centennial State. The rights of gay and lesbian parents do not have specific delineation, so child custody agreements might be difficult to determine.
The former couple at the center of this story decided to have a child several years ago through assisted reproduction, but the two women decided to part ways before the child was born. For about two years after the baby's birth, they were both involved in the care of the child. Eventually, the birth mother decided she wanted to have full custody and stopped speaking to the other mother.
Though the state of Colorado recognizes same-sex unions, they do not recognize same-sex marriages from other states. This means that though the women were married, the parameters that would normally apply in a child custody case for a wedded couple have no bearing here. Advocates are working to change the laws, and remain optimistic that there will soon be guidelines in place to assist loving parents who only want the chance to care for their children.
Those who are in a similar situation to these two parents will want to have a through understanding of exactly what Colorado's laws around child custody entail. The most important measure they can take is leaving open the lines of communication whenever possible. The courts will ultimately consider what is in the best interest of the child.
Source: koaa.com, "Child custody laws unclear with same-sex couples", Eric Ross, July 30, 2014