Nancy S. v. Michele G.

279 Cal. Rptr. 212 (1991)

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Nancy S. v. Michele G.

California Court of Appeal
279 Cal. Rptr. 212 (1991)

  • Written by Mike Begovic, JD

Facts

Nancy S. (plaintiff) and Michele G. (defendant) began a romantic relationship and eventually had two children, accomplished by the artificial insemination of Nancy. Michele was listed as the father on both birth certificates. Nancy and Michele began raising the children together, acting as coparents, although Michele never sought an adoption. When the couple separated, they agreed to a custody arrangement whereby the children would alternate between houses, spending time together for a portion of the week. Following a disagreement, Nancy commenced a proceeding under the Uniform Parentage Act (the act), seeking a declaration that she was entitled to sole custody and that Michele’s visitation was subject to her consent. The act provided that before awarding custody to anyone other than a parent, a court must find that awarding custody to a parent would be detrimental to the child and the award to a nonparent would serve the best interests of the child. Michele responded by seeking an order for custody and visitation consistent with the couple’s original arrangement. Michele conceded that Nancy was the biological parent of the children but argued that she should be considered a parent on several grounds, including: (1) de facto parent; (2) collateral estoppel; and (3) in loco parentis. The trial court awarded full and sole custody to Nancy, determining that Michele was not a parent under the act. Michele appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stein, J.)

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