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Visitation/Lesbian Partner
1999 National Legal Research Group, Inc.

NEW JERSEY: V.C. v. M.J.B., 25 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1223 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Mar. 5, 1999).

In New Jersey, the appellate division held that a woman's petition for joint custody of and visitation with the children conceived by her former lesbian partner through artificial insemination and born during their relationship should be judged under a "best interests of the child" test. The court cited with approval the Wisconsin Supreme Court case of In re H.S.H.-K., 193 Wis. 2d 649, 533 N.W.2d 419 (1995), in which that court held that visitation could be awarded to a third party if the third party proves such visitation is in the child's best interests and if the third party can establish a parent-like relationship with the child. This latest New Jersey case is in line with a prior New Jersey case, R.E.M. v. S.L.V., No. FD-15-748- 98N (N.J. Super. Ct. Ch. Div. Nov. 2, 1998), that also held that a nonbiological co-parent should be granted equal status with the biological mother, so long as custody/visitation would be in the best interests of the child. V.C. v. M.J.B., 25 Fam. L. Rep. (BNA) 1223 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Mar. 5, 1999).

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