The appeals court sent the case back to the trial court for a determination of the status of the nonbio mom, Sondra Shineovich. The trial court heard testimony over four dates last November and December and admitted 110 exhibits into evidence. Judge Katherine Tennyson of the Multnomah County Circuit Court made written factual findings, in a letter to counsel dated March 31, 2011, that Sondra and her partner, Sarah Kemp, had a "committed partnership which intended, in addition to financial interdependence, to produce and raise children together." The judge further found that
It is also overwhelming [sic] apparent from all credible evidence on this record, that the parties worked together to achieve the goal of conceiving and raising children. There is no question that Shineovich consented to this process. She contributed with her actions, money and emotions. This goal was a topic of discussion between Shineovich and Kemp and was a joint effort between them. These children were an integral part of their partnership.
Although Kemp told the court that the decision to have the children was "'my process; my children'", the court found that view "not supported by the credible evidence in this case." The evidence included numerous witnesses, including Kemp's aunt, and many "cards, letter, video and documents created contemporaneously with events" that contradicted Kemp's testimony at the trial as to her "memory" of past events. The court also found that the older child, Parker, "viewed Shineovich as his parent in every sense of the word." Kemp was pregnant with the younger child when she moved out of the family home in 2006.
The court ordered the parties to schedule a conference to set a hearing date to determine the issues of custody and parenting time.
Shineovich was represented at trial by Owens, Sneller, Pinzelik and Wood, P.C., who issued a press statement about the ruling.