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Case seeking regular visitation rights for a lesbian mother and the child she and her former partner co-parented in California.


A.K. agreed with her former partner (N.B.) to have a child together, co-parented the child for five years in California and obtained a parentage declaration and award of custody and visitation rights in California. In the meantime, N.B. moved to Alabama and filed an action there to be declared the sole parent of the couple’s child, which the Alabama trial court granted.

The Alabama intermediate appellate court reversed that decision and, relying on our victory in Miller-Jenkins, held that, due to the initial filing of custody proceedings in California courts, the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) meant that Alabama could not hear any custody or visitation disputes relating to the child, and that Alabama had to respect the visitation rights granted our client in California.

The opposition is arguing that the PKPA does not apply and that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) allows the state to apply its antigay constitutional amendment to preclude recognition of our client’s parental rights.

    • September 2005 Respondent A.K. files a Petition to Establish Parental Relationship in the Superior Court of California, Sutter County (the “California Court”).
    • September 2006 N.B. files a Petition for Temporary Custody with the Houston County (Alabama) Juvenile Court.
    • September 2006 California Court enters an order recognizing both N.B. and A.K. as the two legal parents of A.R.B.-K.
    • February 2007 California Court awards visitation to A.K.
    • April 2007 A.K. asks the Alabama Court to dismiss N.B.’s action because California Court has exclusive jurisdiction.
    • October 2007 Alabama Court rejects A.K.’s argument and grants N.B. all requested relief.
    • May 2008 Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reverses the trial court and instructs the Juvenile Court to dismiss N.B.’s lawsuit.
    • March 2009 Alabama Supreme Court grants certiorari.
    • June 2010 Alabama Supreme Court dismisses the appeal on procedural grounds unrelated to the merits.