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Piatt v. Piatt

Court of Appeals of Virginia
499 S.E.2d 567 (1998)


Facts

Ms. Piatt (plaintiff) and Mr. Piatt (defendant) sought a divorce. In their settlement agreement, the Piatts agreed to have a custody evaluation performed by Dr. Lane. Dr. Lane recommended that Ms. Piatt have primary physical custody with liberal visitation for Mr. Piatt. At trial, evidence was presented showing that both parents had engaged in post-separation relationships with third parties. According to the evidence, Mr. Piatt had dated one woman, and Ms. Piatt had dated two women. Mr. Piatt described his relationship as serious and stated that he had intentions to marry his girlfriend. Ms. Piatt recognized that she was experimenting with her sexuality. Dr. Lane supplemented his findings and testified that there seemed to be no reliable evidence that being raised by a homosexual parent caused damage to a child. The trial court awarded the parties joint legal custody of the child, with Mr. Piatt having primary physical custody and Ms. Piatt being granted liberal visitation. Ms. Piatt appealed, contending that the trial court treated her post-separation sexual relationships differently than it did Mr. Piatt's.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Fitzpatrick, J.)

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Dissent (Annunziata, J.)

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