Allison Scollar won an important battle for lesbian parents everywhere, but for now she's probably just happy to have won custody of her 6-year-old daughter.
Scollar and her ex-partner had the child together but Scollar was not the one who gave birth. Her ex, Brook Altman, is the biological mother. Still, a New York Family Court judge gave Scollar full custody of her daughter.
This is the first such custody case in New York, according to the New York Post. But the judge's decision isn't so unusual based on how custody cases are supposed to work.
Custody cases should be decided based on the best interests of the child. The judge will decide who should have the right to make decisions based on factors related to that.
'Best interests' includes things like responsible care, setting boundaries, and appropriate discipline as well as a loving relationship between parent and child.
The factors involved in a custody battle are complex and they're difficult to unpack on your own, especially if the child's other parent has an attorney. Don't risk your time with your child; get an attorney who can fight for your right to custody.
Scollar's attorneys, Marilyn Chinitz and Brett Ward, fought for her right to keep her daughter by showing how responsible she is as a parent. In the decision, Judge Gloria Sosa-Lintner noted that Scollar gives her daughter a dependable schedule, takes her to scheduled therapy, and properly supervises the child.
Altman on the other hand missed therapy and other appointments and failed to keep a normal schedule, reports Business Insider.
The judge noted that biology isn't the law's primary concern. Giving a biological parent priority over an adoptive parent is just as unfair to parent and child as giving priority to a child's father, according to Sosa-Lintner's decision.
Scollar said she was relieved that the judge made her decision based on parenting skills rather than biology, according to the New York Post. "The law needs to catch up to diverse families -- and it has."
- Legal Issues for Gay and Lesbian Adoption (FindLaw)
- Lesbian Custody Case: Biological Mom Denies Non-Biological Mom (FindLaw's Atlanta Family Law News Blog)
- Pastor Aided Kidnap in Lesbian Custody Fight (FindLaw's Blotter)