The Ohio Supreme Court announced that it would not review the case of a woman seeking custody of her former partner's child. The case was decided by the Franklin County Court of Appeals last year and now the decision that the woman has no parental rights to the child is final.
The conflict is between the woman and her ex-partner's husband who also happens to be the biological father of the seven year old girl. The woman in this case initiated custody proceedings after she split from the child's biological mother in 2008 and was initially awarded custody since the two had been raising her together since birth. When the biological mother married in 2011 the father started an adoption proceeding, which cut off the relationship with the woman since she is a non-relative.
This case may seem unusual to some of our readers, but it shows one example of the complications that can arise for unmarried parents who part ways or for stepparents who want to formally adopt their spouse's children. This type of custody versus adoption conflict can happen any time unmarried people decide to have children, especially when the child will be adopted or will be biologically related to only one of the two parents. This can happen in a variety of contexts, including for couples who struggle with fertility or for same sex couples. In order to avoid prolonged custody battles like this one, unmarried couples can go through the adoption process early or can enter into a shared custody agreement.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Court won't hear case for lesbian ex-partner's custody rights," Rita Price, Jan. 26, 2013.
More information about parental rights for unmarried couples is available on our Ohio family law firm site.