Civil Union Partners' Custody Dispute To Be Decided in VT per PKPA and UCCJA; DOMA Does Not Trump

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The Vermont Supreme Court decided a jurisdictional custody dispute between partners to a Vermont civil union, which revolved around the Parental Kidnapping Protection Act and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. The court rejected the argument that the federal Defense of Marriage Act might supersede either of those laws. Boston.com reports "The unanimous ruling in Vermont conflicts with a series of decisions in Virginia courts, which held that that state's anti-gay marriage laws controlled the case. Vermont Justice John Dooley wrote, though, that it's Vermont's laws that control the case because the women involved in the dispute were legally joined in a civil union in 2000 and that means Vermont family law governs their 2003 separation and subsequent child custody disagreement. A lawyer representing opponents of same-sex marriage said the dispute undoubtedly will have to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court."
UPDATE:
Law - Washington Post editorial provides clarity on Vermont-Virginia dispute is the headline from the Indiana Law Blog."A Washington Post editorial today cuts to the essence of the Vermont-Virginia visitation dispute. A paragraph: As the Vermont Supreme Court understood, this dispute isn't about whether Virginia is bound to honor same-sex unions. (The federal Defense of Marriage Act protects Virginia from that supposedly frightful consequence.) It's about the application of a federal law designed to help states -- and children -- avoid the sort of ugly tug of war that has ensnared Isabella here. Once one state's court has properly started hearing a case, the law provides, other states should stay out. Otherwise, parents who don't like the custody deal they got the first time could shop around for friendlier courts."The Indiana Law Blog also links to the August 5th NY Times report, written by Adam Liptak, on the Vermont Supreme Court ruling, and to the blog, How Appealing, whioh links to the Vermont Supreme Court ruling.


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