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Landmark ruling about mother's rights in the UK

 
 
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 01:07 pm
Quote:
Natural mother loses
girls to lesbian ex-lover


By Paul Cheston
Courts Correspondent

The rights of a natural mother were redefined in a landmark court ruling today.

It came as the Appeal Court decided that two sisters aged seven and four should be taken from their biological mother and handed over to her former lesbian partner.

Lord Justice Thorpe said:"We have moved into a world where norms that seemrd safe 20 or more years ago no longer run."

He then posted the question:"Who is the natural parent?"

Judges dealing with such cases in the past have held that the biological parent is the natural parent, he said.

Lord Justice Thorpe, sitting as part of a panel of three judgesm added;"But in the eyes of the child, the natural parent may be a non-biological parent who, by virtue of long settled care, has become the child's psychological parent."

He said that the upbringing of the children had been shared and the sisters would not distinguish between one woman and the other on the grounds of biological relationship.

The mother, a teacher, had taken the children to a new home in Cornwall after a court granted her former partner shared contact with the girls.

None of the parties involved can be identified, by order of the court, to protect the children.

The biological mother was referred to as CG and her former partner as CW.

CG gave birth to the children, A and B, after insemination by anonymous sperm donaton during the relationship with CW. A and B are full sisters.

The relationship broke down in 2002 after seven years and CG moved to a neighbouring house until she found a new lesbian partner in Leicester, said Lord Justice Thorpe.

"That relationship endures abd the couple have registered their civil partnership," said the judge.

CW, 47, was initially denied access and any parental responsibility by a county court judge in Telford but this was overturned by the Court of Appeal last year.
The panel of judges, again headed by Lord Justice Thorpe, ruled that same-sex partners should have the same rights as estranged heterosexual couples.

At that time CW was awarde joint residencey rights after the judges said that shared responsibility would be "vital" for the children's psychological health.

Today's ruling confirmed that the former partner should be granted primary care of the sisters.


source: Evening Standard (London, WestEnd Final), Thursday April 06, 2006; page 2.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 01:22 pm
As I myself am a psychological parent (which is a legal status in my state) I think this is very intesting news.

In America biology usually trumps everything -- even what might really be best for the child.

I would love it if you could keep me up to date if there is further news on this.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 01:27 pm
In a some what similar situation, my husbands ex boss just lost custody of HER natural child to her long time lesbian g/f

They were together something like 12 years, when D ( natural parent) and M ( her g/f) decided to have kids.
D got pregnant, and they 'had' K.

D has many mental issues that have gotten worse with age.
She worked at the University of texas , and threatened to bring a gun to work .

This incident was followed by her seperation from M, and M filing for and winning custody of M.


And that happened is this seriously republican / conservative state !
0 Replies
 
FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 01:28 pm
This is interesting. My nosy curiosity wants to know why the primary custody was awarded to the partner. Had she been the primary caretaker up to the separation?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 01:30 pm
I hope so, FreeDuck. Otherwise, it sounds like allocating puppies on the basis of which person they seem to like the most.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 01:31 pm
boomerang wrote:
In America biology usually trumps everything -- even what might really be best for the child.


Here in Germany, since decades "Kindeswohl" (= "the best interests of the child" trumps everything. (Though I'm not aware of a similar case - same sex partners.)
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 01:54 pm
Here, the law is usually weighted towards the mother having custody, even when both parents are "biological."

I think that there is more to this than meets the eye. There could be many reasons why the bio mother was unsuccesful. Unsuitable through drink/drugs/lifestyle?
The non bio mum was the primary carer?
The fact that the pregnancy was the result of clinical planning which could have resulted in either partner being the bio mum may have been a factor....a sort of "luck of the draw" thing?

The papers will be full of this over the coming week.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 02:01 pm
Lord Ellpus wrote:
There could be many reasons why the bio mother was unsuccesful. Unsuitable through drink/drugs/lifestyle?


I could name some more prejudices for teachers Laughing
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Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 02:13 pm
Walter Hinteler wrote:
Lord Ellpus wrote:
There could be many reasons why the bio mother was unsuccesful. Unsuitable through drink/drugs/lifestyle?


I could name some more prejudices for teachers Laughing


I know what teachers are like. This was obviously a factor.


No, seriously....reading the blurb, it would appear that the bio mum defied a court order, allowing equal access in the past. She buggered off with the kids down to Cornwall.

The court wouldn't look favourably on this. Maybe that swayed it?
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FreeDuck
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 02:16 pm
Ah, I did see that but didn't get the implication.

It does seem that it is (should be?) weighted in favor of the primary caretaker. It's just that, historically, that has always been assumed to be the biological mother. I'm glad it seems that judges are starting to take more factors into account.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 02:17 pm
Lord Ellpus wrote:
Maybe that swayed it?


To my experience, it would have done so here. (Judges don't like such at all.)


[I've just looked it up in Family Law magazines: we have had similar here as well.]
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Apr, 2006 03:48 pm
boomerang wrote:
As I myself am a psychological parent (which is a legal status in my state) I think this is very intesting news.

In America biology usually trumps everything -- even what might really be best for the child.
.



Gradually changing, I think, as attachment research is promulgated more in the courts.
0 Replies
 
chiefmole999
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Apr, 2006 05:53 pm
Well, I am in a very similar position to the above couple, as I am the non-biological parent (father) of a 3 1/2 year old boy. However I didn't find this out until he was 2 1/2. I have been buggered about in a similar way to the non-bio mother mentioned in the header to this thread. However I take issue with the whole notion of a "primary carer" being automatically awarded "main custody" when there is a split - or there being a "main carer" at all - it is to be frank rather insulting to the "non-main carer". Just because that was the status quo before the split is no reason for it to be so afterwards. Often for matters of practicality one parent will do more childcare than the other, when the unit is functioning well - that doesn't necessarily mean that when it ceases to function well that should remain the case. This is all the more so, because that then (under the old regime) gave that "main custody" and "main carer" person the ability to side-line the other parent by the simple expedient of moving to a geographically distant location and thus making it effectively very difficult for the other parent to maintain a close relationship with their child(ren). Thus the parent that is already getting much more time with the children, has the further advantage of making if very difficult for the other parent to do all the normal things like meeting them at the school gate, watching them play football or hockey, attending the school play, and parents evening etc. The current system is a total travesty of what is in the best interests of the child. If parents live in a location before a split, unless there are some really pressing reaons - both parents should continue to live there. It certainly should not be possible for one of them to deprive the other of easy access to the children just because one of the parents has a yen to move to a more favourable part of the country for their own particular (and usually selfish) reasons.

I am facing a court hearing tomorrow, where I am going to have to try to persuade a judge not to allow my ex to take my son to a town that is a good 4 1/2 hours drive away - I believe for the express reason of making it more difficult for me to see my son! What adds an extra measure of insult to this is that I have to argue this point at all, and that I am having to pay for that "privilege", while she is publicly funded. I welcome the above ruling if it will do anything to remove the inequity caused by the propensity of the courts to award "primary custody" to one parent, and then to allow that person to manipulate the legal system to outmanoevre and disadvantage the other parent."
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Apr, 2006 06:01 pm
Hi chiefmole and welcome to A2K.

Good luck in your hearing tomorrow.

Mr Stillwater, another A2K member had a situation very similar to yours. If I can find a link to his thread I'll post it for you.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Apr, 2006 06:03 pm
It starts here, I think.... http://www.able2know.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=46504&highlight=hearing
0 Replies
 
babsatamelia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 May, 2006 07:01 pm
*In America biology usually triumphs everything because what other
course IS there for the child? Often, a non biological parent is not
interested and without at least one parent, what else do we here in
such a great country have to offer OUR CHILDREN who are abused,
abandoned or neglected? Foster homes are a dismal failure as a
whole. Institutions are NOT homes. Why I ask, in such a bountiful
country (WELCOMING thousands of Mexicans to share our country)
WE CAN'T DO MORE for the hundreds of thousands of kids
who need help.....regardless of WHO their parents are?
People get married & divorced so indiscriminately & kids are always caught
in the crossfire and it is so f***ing irresponsible that it makes me
sick. I want to see people have to have counseling before they're
allowed to marry and have children......children who may within a
few years face a very uncertain future. Or worse, a very unpleasant
future. Counseling about the fact of life that marriage is very, very
hard. Time limits maybe - so that before you start popping out
kids who will be hurt, you have to actually get to know each other.
Once the passion fades and you both see each other for who you
really are - THEN if you still can love each other with all of your
warts, imperfections, greatness & smallness - THEN you've earned
the right to bring a child into a more certain future. I also think
that the harder you have to work to HAVE a child, the more
you appreciate them.
*I think it is gratifying and wonderful to see a judge interested in
the best interests of the child, PERIOD. Judges in the US don't seem
to share this. There seems to be a backlash against women due to
the many years of "tender years doctrine" while children were
automatically given to the mothers. Period.
*But my daughter met with a crooked lawyer paid off by her
husband's mother ( who ALWAYS took care of his little messes.)
and a judge in a court of law with a document from my grand-
daughter's pediatrician since the day she was born, clearly reporting
exactly, word for word, what my grandchild told the pediatrician
about what her father had done to her and how he had hurt her,
the very day after my daughter brought her home for her visitation,
and that judge tossed this document aside. We are trying to raise
money for a GOOD lawyer, unfortunately they aren't all equal
but this is a case that will no doubt cost over $10,000 before it's
over and before he is put in jail. I am glad to see that at least in
some corners of this world the child's best interests DO come first.
This breaks my heart. I have not seen my own grandaughter for
over a year. My daughter is no great mother - I think she is overly
demanding, strict to the point of ridiculous. ... but it's her shot at
motherhood, for better or worse.
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