Families in Denver and other U.S. cities are not necessarily the stereotypical family unit anymore. Although families themselves have changed, in many cases, the laws have not, like in cases where same-sex couples that are raising a child together separate or when someone is not biologically a child's mother or father, but is their parent nonetheless.
The child custody hearings will likely begin soon in a case that has been a long time coming. A woman originally filed a lawsuit back in 2008, hoping to be granted visitation rights for a child who had been adopted by her former domestic partner. According to the lawsuit, she too was a parent to the child, despite never having legally adopted her. The judge dismissed the case because he claimed the woman had no legal parental rights.
The case finally made its way back to the district after going through several appeals and being ruled on in the state's Supreme Court. The original judge had retired, but the judge who took over decided to hold up the Supreme Court's ruling, giving the woman legal parental rights.
Already being touted as a precedent-setting ruling, this case could pave the way for similar cases in the future. It has established a new standard, which could help other parents without biological or legal status to be granted parental rights. If you are trying to get full or joint custody of a child, it can be of benefit to seek the advice of an attorney to ensure that your legal rights are upheld and the best interests of the child are looked out for.
Source: The Santa Fe New Mexican, "Same-sex ex granted natural parent status", Tom Sharpe, April 4, 2013