Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Texas, another child loses a nonbio mom

It's discouraging to repeat the same story over and over. Here is the latest example of a bio mom eliminating a non-bio mom from a child's life...and getting away with it.

Bio mom, T.S., and non-bio mom, K.V., had a child through donor insemination. The child was given a hyphonated last name (S.-V.). The couple split up about 15 months later. For almost two years after that, the child lived with the bio mom and spent one overnight a week, alternate weekends, and some summer and holiday time with K.V. When K.V. accessed the child's school record without T.S.'s permission, T.S. cut off all contact, prompting K.V. to file a lawsuit.

In all these cases, the legal theories vary somewhat, depending upon what state law can support. For the details of the legal theories asserted in this case, read the whole opinion here. But the bottom line is so often the same; the court will not hear any evidence about the child's best interests because it finds that the non-bio mom has no right to bring an action for custody or visitation at all. That's what happened here.

I am assuming that the couple planned the insemination together and intended to both be parents, although the opinion is scant on facts because no amount of facts would make a legal difference to this court. But the opinion does say that the couple talked about having a child together, received counseling, and co-parented (that's the word the court uses) for the first 15 months while they lived together. Plus, the child's name was a hyphonated form of both moms' names. So in the District of Columbia, both these women would have been the legal parents of the child from the moment of birth.

Texas extends joint legal status to a nonbiological parent only when that parent is a man who is married to the woman who gives birth. That's no surprise. It's just sad.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

"Texas extends joint legal status to a non-biological parent only when that parent is a man who is married to the woman who gives birth. That's no surprise. It's just sad."

Your comment isn't exactly true. Texas has two counties who actively grant second parent, same sex adoptions- Bexar and Travis.

To my knowledge, the State of Texas has not yet invalidated any of these adoptions.

The non bio mother could have protected herself if she had gotten a lawyer, went through with the home study, and accessed a welcoming family court.