N.J. Judge Awards Gay Couple Custody of Twin Daughters
Donald Robinson Hollingsworth and his husband Sean Hollingsworth were recently involved in a vicious custody battle with Donald's sister, Angelia Robinson, over 5-year-old twin girls, reported NJ.com in a Dec. 20 article.
Angelia agreed to be the surrogate mother for the couple and gave birth to the twins through a donor embryo, which was fertilized by Sean.
The couple married in California but currently resides in Hudson County, N.J., across the Hudson River from New York City and includes Jersey City, N.J.
The relationship between the two men and Angelina is extremely strained, which made it difficult for Judge Francis Schultz, from the Hudson County Superior Court, to decide which litigate would be awarded custody of the girls. Francis also had to take into consideration a contractual agreement and who was most fit to take care of the twins.
Last week, Francis came to a decision and awarded full custody to the twins' biological father, Sean, however, he also ruled that Angelina would have parental visitation rights.
In an earlier court hearing a judged ruled that Angelina was the legal mother.
"The parents' ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the children is nonexistent here," Francis wrote.
"They hardly speak verbally to each other and there is little communication in writing. They disagree on what school the children should attend, what religion the children should be brought up in, and what they should be told about surrogacy, what they should be told about the gay lifestyle and there is uncertainty as to how the children will be instructed as to their biracial heritage."
Francis also said he did not believe there could be joint legal custody.
"This decision is a victory for parents, particularly those in nontraditional families who value diversity and inclusion and pass those values along to their children," Karim Kasper, Sean Hollingsworth's attorney said.
In an April 22 article EDGE reported about Lisa Miller, who did not give over her daughter to her former life partner, Sally Jenkins after courts ordered her to do so. Instead, Miller and her daughter, Isabella, fled the country.
It was discovered that Timothy David Miller helped the mother and daughter escape to Nicaragua. Timothy was arrested for "aiding in the removing of a child from the United States, and retaining a child outside of the United States with intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights."
In 2000 Lisa and Jenkins entered into a civil union in Vermont and in 2002, Miller gave birth to their daughter who was conceived via artificial insemination. In 2003, the couple broke up and Miller moved to Virginia and claimed to have become an "ex-gay."
The couple's custody battle went all the way to the state supreme court of both states and the Vermont Supreme Court found that even though Miller would receive full custody of Isabella, Jenkins would still have visitation rights.
When Miller found out that she had to share Isabella with her ex, she allegedly sabotaged the arrangement. A new court ruling transferred custody to Jenkins.