The former partner in a lesbian relationship was denied partial child custody of a daughter that she helped raise and financially support, according to multiple reports.
In a 4 to 3 decision, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld lower court rulings that Michelle Hobbs of Cincinnati was not legally eligible to share custody of the now 5-year-old girl. The court ruled that Kelly Mullen, the girl’s biological mother, did not agree to share legal custody of the child, despite planning the in-vitro pregnancy with Hobbs and naming her as “co-parent” in power-of-attorney documents.
Mullen reportedly voided those documents after she and her child moved out of the home they shared with Hobbs in 2007. In the court’s majority opinion, Justice Robert Cupp said that “co-parenting” can have many different meanings and suggested that same-sex couple’s may want to draft a written contract regarding custody rights in order to protect their interests.
“Co-parenting can have many different meanings and can refer to many different arrangements and degrees of permanency,” he wrote.
Some experts say that the legalization of gay marriage in several states may lead to more court cases regarding child custody among couples that divorce. The issue has particularly come to light after New York legalized same sex marriage last month, the largest state in the U.S. to do so.