The Dallas Voice reported today on the Dallas County lesbian custody case being returned by the Texas Supreme Court to trial. David Taffet, reporter with the Voice, noted on the standard that the non-biological mother will have to meet to see her daughter.
Read the entire article here: Vowels Case Returned to Trial Court for Hearing
Dallas Gay parenting advocate attorney Michelle May O’Neil explained that non-biological parents in custody and visitation cases have to meet what is called the Troxel standard, named after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a child custody case.
“The presumption is that parents act in the best interest of their children,” O’Neil said.
Vowels said her former partner is a good mother. But whether or not Vowels gains custody could revolve on whether she and her attorneys can show any flawed decision-making on the part of her former partner.
“The flaw is that she unilaterally ripped the child from someone the child called mom,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said that the case is being cited around the state and will affect heterosexual stepparents, grandparents and other caregivers as well. “It’s legally the same question,” O’Neil said.
The article points out that the way to avoid being in a custody battle like the one that Ms. Vowels find herself is to adopt the non-biological child as soon as possible after the birth, while the relationship remains on good terms. Trying to adopt after the break-up is too late.
For more information about the Vowels Case, see these prior blog posts:
Rights of Gay Parent Head to Trial in Dallas County, Texas
Dallas Divorce Lawyer Quoted by Dallas Voice Newspaper
Green Light for Suit for Access to Child by Lesbian Nonparent