Landmark custody battle continues

Landmark custody battle continues

A lesbian mother has failed to stop her former partner from having visitation rights to their child.
The case of Aldridge and Keaton moved into the Family Court last week, where a magistrate again ruled against the biological mother’s attempt to put a stop to parental access.

The same-sex parental rights case previously came before the Federal Magistrates court in 2008, where it was decided that an interim order should be granted to allow Keaton (the non-biological mother) limited access to the couple’s three-year-old child. Initially granted three hours a week time with the child, this was to gradually increase to a full day of access.

Aldridge, the biological mother, appealed to the Family Court to put a stay on the orders while appeals continued, but was unsuccessful.

The Chief Federal Magistrate upheld that it was in the child’s best interests to spend time with the non-biological mother.

Aldridge’s lawyer had argued that temporary visitation rights could lead to further distress down the track if a court ruled against Keaton’s application for custody rights.

The Chief Magistrate countered that it would seem to be potentially much more harmful to the child for there to be another break in her relationship with the respondent, if at the conclusion of the appeal process, time with the respondent was to be resumed.

If I were to grant the stay and stop contact between the respondent and the child or limit that contact to three hours per month, there is in my view, potentially a much greater adjustment for the child who may, by the time an appeal is heard, have established new routines and lost her existing relationship with the respondent.

A final decision in the custody case is expected in the coming weeks.

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5 responses to “Landmark custody battle continues”

  1. When we donors give sperm to a lesbian couple we give it to both women. I give the bottle of sperm to the non biological mother to empower her parenthood even before conception. We often solidify the family by giving the second baby to the other mother so that their children are not just social siblings but also biological siblings.
    This case stinks of “Re: Patrick” where the bio mother murdered her child and committed suicide to avoic the donors contracted contact.
    Yes, this is a sad case! However, it happens far less frequently in the gay community (as a percentage) than in the straight community. The rise in gay and lesbian parenting means that this type of event will happen more frequently. Another reason for extending marriage to the GLBTQI community.

  2. Interesting case for the finding that the parties were not in a de facto relationship at conception. Seems to set a high standard for what is a de facto relationship. Some have commented that with the same factors in an opposite sex relationship, the Court would have no problem finding a de facto relationship existed. Despite law reform, I think this demonstrates our judiciary could do with a little education about same sex relationships.

  3. It’s not about “parentage” but about social relationships the child has. This same situation could come up with grand parents etc.

  4. Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania still do not recognise lesbian partnership IVF parentage still in 2009. All other places in Australia do!!!!