Colorado breakthrough for children!

Ann Catherine Gushurst

Practice Area:Child Custody

Outcome:Client in same sex relationship was declared to be the legal mother of her child. This case has impacted three other similar cases in our firm.

Description:In a case involving an adopted child raised by two mothers, when the mothers separated, the 'legal' mother claimed that she alone had protected parenting rights and moved out of state. The other mother was left with no notice and no legal rights. Using provisions of Title 19 in the Children's Code, we fought to have the mother declared a legal parent under CRS 19-4-105, under the "holding out" provision which allows fathers to be declared parents. Although the statute is written with men in mind, it allows for application to mothers as well, and a recent decision involving a non-biological parent, paved the way for the statute to apply in gay family situations. This is a Colorado precedent and somewhat of a national precedent as well(the only other similar case that we found was out of California we which discovered through the awesome assistance of the National Center for Lesbian Rights). What this means is that for children whose parents who are not the "legal" parent on the birth certificate (for any number of reasons) there is now a way to protect the critical parent/child relationship.