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San Jose Divorce Lawyer Discusses Custody and Visitation

San Jose Divorce Lawyer Discusses Custody and Visitation

Recently, a child named Isabella’s parents have been in the news, as the parents challenge each other for custody and visitation of Isabella. What’s so special about Isabella? Her parents are two women – she has two moms. Isabella’s moms had her while they were living in Vermont, as a couple united under Vermont’s civil unions law. They split with Isabella was only 17 months old, and one mom (Mom #1) moved with her to Virginia and renounced her homosexuality. Mom #2 stayed in Vermont, and now Isabella is at the center of a dispute of the rights of homosexual parents, the influence of homosexuality, and the issue of same sex marriage.

Virginia eventually ruled in favor of visitation rights for Mom #2, but that is not the focus of this post. Laws vary widely state to state on these issues, so today’s post discusses a relatively recent California decision on one of the primary issues present in that case: does a woman, who is not biologically the mother of a child, but who agreed to raise and support a child born of her lesbian partner, have any parental rights and obligation? This landmark case in California is known as the Elisa B case, and it essentially concludes that where a woman has supported her partner in artificial insemination, received the child (or children) into her home, and held them out as her own, that under the Uniform Parentage Act, she has the obligation to support them (and that obligation comes with rights too).

California’s domestic partnership law also states that the rights and obligations of domestic partners as to the children of either of them, shall be the same as those of spouses. So, if Isabella’s moms were in California, the outcome would be the same – Mom #2 has visitation rights even though she is not the biological mother.

Mom #1’s behavior in disobeying a court order has left her in contempt of court in Virginia. The outcome in California would likely be the same as well. Disobeying a court order, such as an order for visitation, is grounds for contempt, and contempt can be punished with a fine or with jail time in California.

If you are involved in a dispute over custody and visitation of a minor child, whether it’s a result of a dissolution of marriage or domestic partnership, or you never married, you should seek the advice and assistance of an attorney. Here at Sagaria Law, we offer a free consultation on all aspects of family law cases. Your consultation can be over the phone, or in person at any one of our six Northern California locations- Sacramento, Redwood City, Fremont, San Jose, Monterey and Salinas. Call us today at 1-800-941-6730 to schedule your appointment to speak to one of our experienced family law attorneys.