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V. C. v. M. J. B.

New Jersey Supreme Court
748 A.2d 539 (2000)


Facts

V. C. (plaintiff) and M. J. B. (defendant) were a lesbian couple that began dating on July 4, 1993. On July 9, 1993, M. J. B. began artificial insemination and gave birth to twins on September 29, 1994. In 1995, the couple held a commitment ceremony and bought a house together. M. J. B. gave V. C. medical power of attorney and listed her as “other mother” on daycare and pediatrician forms. M. J. B. referred to V. C. as a mother of the children and admitted that V. C. shared responsibility for the care of the children. M. J. B. ended the relationship in August 1996. The parties took turns living in the house with the twins until V. C. moved out in December 1996. V. C. continued to visit the children every other weekend and helped pay expenses until May 1997. V. C. filed a complaint for joint legal custody and visitation rights, arguing that she had equal parenting responsibility and was equally involved in all major parenting decisions. M. J. B. insisted that she made all substantive decisions regarding the children and that V. C. was a helper and not a co-parent. The trial court denied V. C. any legal custody or visitation, and V. C. appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Long, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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