I’ve previously written about some of the differences between a divorce and a dissolution of a civil union. Back on December 8, 2006, I wrote about a case in Virginia whereby a couple entered into a civil union in Vermont. They then had a child via artificial insemination. The daughter, Isabella, now 6 years old, along with the birth mother Lisa, returned to Virginia (a state which does not recognize same sex unions). Vermont granted a dissolution, primary custody to Lisa and visitation rights to her former partner Janet. Lisa then went to court in Virginia and won an order granting her sole custody with no parental or visitation rights for Janet.
However, in 2006, a Virginia Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s ruling, holding that federal law requires each state to respect the child custody and visitation rulings of another state so that chaos will not result from parents shopping for another state for a “better” ruling.
The case has now headed to the Virginia Supreme Court and a ruling is expected in June.