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University of Baltimore Law Forum

Abstract

Rachel and Allison were in a committed same-sex relationship beginning in 1990. Although they never legally married, the couple decided to manifest their love by having a child in 2001. Rachel and Allison both agreed that Rachel would carry the child by way of an anonymous sperm donor. Their child, Kevin, was born on September 3, 2002. Allison was present in the delivery room and even cut the umbilical cord. From the time Kevin was born until the summer of 2009 when Rachel and Allison ended their relationship, the couple equally raised and cared for Kevin, sharing all major and minor decisions concerning him. Kevin refers to Rachel as “mommy” and Allison as “mama.”

After nineteen years of their relationship, Allison moved out of their shared residence, leaving Kevin with Rachel. Directly following their separation, Allison was able to visit with Kevin three days per week. After only two months of this visitation agreement, Rachel refused Allison further contact with Kevin, prompting Allison to seek judicial relief. However, the jurisdiction that both parties live in does not recognize the parent-child relationship that Allison has with Kevin. Therefore, Allison cannot have contact or visitation with Kevin, without Rachel’s approval.

While the above narrative is fictional, it is analogous to many real accounts of de facto parents. The situation presented and the problems that derive from it are issues that many individuals in traditional relationships, as well as in same-sex relationships, have to deal with because of the lack of recognition of de facto parenthood.

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