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Adoptive mother given custody over biological mother

A judge recently awarded an adoptive mother custody of her daughter after a long court battle with the woman's former domestic partner, who is girl's biological mother.

The couple's daughter is now six-years-old and the two have been fighting in out in court for quite a long time. A state court judge reviewed the case late last month and found that the adoptive parent was "more responsible" and followed the child custody golden rule of deciding in the best interests of the child.

The judge in this case treated the adoptive parent as having equal rights to the biological parent. If this ruling is maintained and survives the appeals process, it could be a major step for same sex couples who have this type of arrangement. The law is relatively unsettled in this area, since the situation is different than it would be for parents who have been married and adopted a child.

Both parents in this case are highly successful professionals who would both be able to financially support the six-year-old, but the family court judge ruled that the adoptive mother was more responsible and noted that she looked out for her child's best interests, rather than her own. The biological mother, on the other hand, seemed to treat the child as more of a friend or sister.

For the many couples in Minnesota and around the country who are choosing to have children in a nontraditional way, it's good to see courts adapting well-worn family law principles to these new situations.

Our Minnesota family law firm assists in child custody and a variety of other matters. More information can be found on our website.

Source: ABA Journal, "Adoptive mom is more responsible parent," Martha Neil, Oct. 2, 2012

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