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the co-mother, who is seeking only
regular contact with the child, is “just
like a stranger off the street” trying
to take away her child. The Vermont
Court doesn’t agree, but the one in
Virginia where the birth mother has
moved was only too happy to concur.
I’m not trying to say that lesbian
families will or should be better than
heterosexual families – break ups can
be messy, bitter and badly behaved.
But there is a big difference between
angry ex-partners saying that the other
person is a lazy or bad parent compared
to saying that she isn’t a parent at all.
Interestingly in England earlier this
year a court granted joint residence
and parental responsibility to a co-
mother for just this reason: that without
such an order the birth mother would
marginalise her in the children’s lives.
It remains to be seen how Australian
courts will respond to these issues.
Given the recognition offered in recent
consent decisions I would suggest
that they are likely to seek to preserve
existing relationships between parents
and children where those relationships
are strong and positive, regardless of
legal or biological links.
Illustration: Jerry King
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