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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Same-Sex Couples' Court Fight Could Affect Ohio Parents

A custody fight involving two same-sex couples could impact custody battles for all parents in Ohio.

Kelly Mullen and Scott Liming are like any other parents. They'll do whatever it takes to protect their child, 3-year old Lucy.

"My heart and soul is for my daughter and that's the premise of why I'm fighting for this," Liming said. “Because this is about her life, not ours."

Scott is Lucy’s biological father; Kelly is her biological mother.

The difference between them and other parents is that they're both gay and live separate lives with separate partners.

“We really wanted it to be one mom and one dad so that she would not be confused as an adult," Liming said.

But a year ago, when Mullen and her partner broke up, that plan unraveled.

Mullen's partner filed a lawsuit, asking for shared custody of Lucy, and she got it.

"Right now, every Saturday my daughter goes and spends six hours of unsupervised time with somebody I don't even want her to be with,” Mullen said.

The court’s decision rested on a piece of paper that had nothing to do with the complicated relationship.

The judge noted that since Mullen signed a will and power of attorney, naming her then-partner as Lucy’s caregiver if something happened to Mullen, the partner should have some custodial rights.

"This is an issue that opens up Pandora's box for everyone and possibly anyone," Liming said.

"It'll give the opportunity for any third party, a baby sitter, a nanny, anybody that's had substantial interest in helping you with your child, they can now file and say, ‘Well, you've implied custody to me,’" Mullen said.

Hamilton County Judge Carla Grady is expected to issue a new ruling on the case later this month.


1 comment:

Barbara A said...

The courts must look to the best interest of the child when making orders regarding the child's custodial care. If it is determined that it would be detrimental to the child to not visit with a 3rd party, the court has jurisidcition to allow for such visitation. It would be the same for heterosexual couples.


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