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Bethany v. Jones

378 S.W.3d 731 (2011)

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Bethany v. Jones

Arkansas Supreme Court

378 S.W.3d 731 (2011)

Facts

Emily Jones (plaintiff) and Alicia Bethany (defendant) had been in a same-sex relationship for four years when they decided to start a family. A friend of Jones’s donated sperm to artificially inseminate Bethany. The couple named the child using Jones’s last name and her grandmother’s name as a middle name. For over three years, Jones took care of the child as the stay-at-home parent, and the child called her “mommy.” The child considered Jones’s parents her grandparents and spent holidays with Jones’s family, as Bethany was estranged from her family. When the couple’s romantic relationship ended, they agreed to continue co-parenting. But a dispute arose when Bethany disagreed with Jones keeping the child for 24 hours against Bethany’s wishes. After starting a new relationship with another woman, Bethany decided that contact with Jones was no longer in the child’s best interest, claiming the child was not safe because Jones was allegedly unstable, untruthful, and suffered from depression. When Bethany stopped allowing Jones to see the child, Jones sued for visitation rights. The trial court found that Jones stood in loco parentis, meaning she was effectively the child’s parent, and granted visitation as in the child’s best interest. Bethany appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Corbin, J.)

Dissent (Baker, J.)

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