Friday, June 06, 2008

VA: state supreme court prohibits "forum shopping" in interstate custody battles (gay or not)

The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled in Jenkins v. Miller, that a person in a dissolved domestic partnership cannot engage in “forum shopping” and move to Virginia to keep sole custody of a child and deny the former partner visitation rights.

One of the partners, Lisa, had filed action in Virginia in 2004 when the Virginia Affirmation of Marriage Act went into effect, attempting to cut off visitation by her former domestic partner, Janet. The civil union had been established after moving to Vermont in 2002, and dissolved in 2003. At issue was whether a former marital or union couple may move to another state just to get a more favorable custody arrangement than in the original state. This would seem to violate Full Faith and Credit.

Equality Virginia maintains a FAQ page on the details of the case here.

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