Family Law Keyed to Weisberg
Adoption of Tammy
Two unmarried women (Susan and Helen) filed a joint petition to adopt Tammy, a minor, who is Susan’s biological daughter. The two lived together in a permanent, committed relationship for more than ten years. They jointly purchased a house together, and both were successful physicians. The two planned to conceive a child biologically related to both of them, and Susan conceived the child through artificial insemination by Helen’s cousin. The women attended childbirth classes together, and Helen was present for the birth. Tammy’s birth certificate reflects the cousin as her biological father, but she was given a hyphenated surname using Susan and Helen’s last names. Since birth, Tammy has lived with, been raised and supported by Helen and Susan. Tammy has strong emotional and psychological bonds with both Helen and Susan. The cousin does not intend to be involved with Tammy, signed an adoption surrender, and supports the joint adoption by both women. The law does not p ermit the women to enter into a legally cognizable marriage, but they believe that the best interests of the child require legal recognition of her identical emotional relationship to both women. Susan recognized that it might not be in her own long-term interest to permit the adoption because if the couple separated, Helen would have equal rights to primary custody. She indicated the adoption was important for both emotional security and potential inheritance. Over a dozen witnesses testified that the women participate equally in raising Tammy, that she relates to both women as her parents, and that the three form a healthy, happy, and stable family unit. The court found that the women are functioning, separately and together, as the custodial and psychological parents, and that it is the best interest of Tammy that she be adopted by both. The judge allowed the adoption, and reported to the Appeals Court all evidence and questions of law.
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