I have prevously reported on a case of a Vermont civil union which was dissolved, but a custody battle over a child of that civil union had taken place in two states, Vermont and Virginia, where one of the partners had moved with the child. Virginia does not recognize same sex relationships. Federal law does not either (in the defense of marriage act), but does uphold the custody decisions of an originating state, to prevent venue shopping by parents.
In this case, courts in both Vermont and Virginia (including their Supreme Court) have upheld the right of the Vermont courts to take precedence. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal, essentially agreeing with the existing court decisions. Now the Virginia resident, Lisa Miller, is appealing the ability of Virginia courts to enforce the order of a court in Vermont.
In January, a Vermont judge denied Miller’s latest attempt in that state to deny visitation rights to Janet Jenkins. The judge also said Miller risked losing custody of her daughter if she continues to violate court orders. The Vermont court also rejected Jenkins’ effort to get primary custody of Isabella, but did order she get five weeks of custody in the summer.
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