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Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins

Vermont Supreme Court
912 A.2d 951 (2006)


Facts

Lisa Miller-Jenkins (plaintiff) and Janet Miller-Jenkins (defendant) lived together as a couple in Virginia. In December 2000, they traveled to Vermont where they entered into a civil union. They returned to Virginia. In April 2002, Lisa gave birth to a child, IMJ, conceived through artificial insemination. In August 2002, Lisa and Janet moved with IMJ to Vermont. A year later, they decided to separate. In September 2003, Lisa and IMJ moved back to Virginia while Janet remained in Vermont. In November 2003, Lisa filed a petition in a Vermont family court to dissolve the couple’s civil union, to award her custody of IMJ, and to award Janet rights of contact with IMJ. The complaint referred to IMJ as the “biological or adoptive” child of the “civil union.” In June 2004, the Vermont court issued a temporary order awarding Lisa physical and legal custody of IMJ and awarding Janet visitation rights and daily telephone contact. After Janet’s first visitation weekend with IMJ, Lisa ceased allowing any contact between Janet and IMJ. On July 1, 2004, Lisa petitioned a Virginia court to determine IMJ’s parentage. On July 19, the Vermont court reaffirmed its jurisdiction and directed that its temporary custody order be followed. On September 2, the Vermont court held Lisa in contempt. On September 9, the Virginia court held that it had jurisdiction to hear Lisa’s petition. On October 15, the Virginia court issued an order declaring Lisa to be IMJ’s sole parent and Janet to have no parental claim or rights of visitation. On November 17, the Vermont court ruled that both Lisa and Janet had parental rights. On December 21, the Vermont court issued a ruling denying full faith and credit to the Virginia decision. Lisa appealed the Vermont decisions.

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Holding and Reasoning (Dooley, J.)

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