Yet another Texas Family Code 102.003(a)(9) case….

March 12, 2010 Posted in Child Custody

I can’t get enough of these standing cases. In re M.K.S.-V., 301 S.W.3d 460, Tex.App.-Dallas, 2009. Facts as reported from the case:

K.V. and T.S. met in the fall of 1997 and began living together in late 1998. The two talked about rearing a child together and in mid-2003, after the two had received counseling, T.S. became pregnant with M.K.S. through artificial insemination by a sperm donor. T.S. delivered M.K.S. on May 21, 2004 and co-parented M.K.S. with K.V. until August 3, 2005 when the relationship ended and T.S. moved out with M.K.S. Because T.S. and K.V. wanted to maintain some continuity for the child, they agreed on a schedule allowing K.V. regular access to and possession of the child. Under the agreement, M.K.S. would visit K.V. overnight once a week, alternate Sunday afternoons, and on alternate weekends beginning on Friday afternoons during the school year. During the summer, the weekend visits would sometimes start on Thursday afternoon. M.K.S. also visited K.V. on “some holidays.” This schedule began August 5, 2005 and continued until April 25, 2007 when T.S. discontinued the visits because K.V. had accessed M.K.S.’s school record against T.S.’s “directive.” The following month, K.V. filed suit seeking to be appointed joint managing conservator of M.K.S. or, in the alternative, to adopt her.

I recall this case getting some media attention because the parties were lesbian lovers. Interesting to note the Court did not mention this fact in the entire case. Unlike most cases the parties here had an actual written possession schedule they generally seemed to follow yet TS maintained that KV had no standing. The appeals court found that in this case, the possession agreement between the parties shared characteristics of a standard possession order, MKS had her own room at KV’s house, KV had toys for MKS, KV would pick the child up from school when she was sick, KV was listed as a parent at the school for pick up purposes, and similar parental duties, actions and obligations that are indicative of being a parent. The found that the record did not suggest the possession and care giving was intended to be a temporary arrangement. For these reasons the appeals court remanded the case and found error when the trial court dismissed KV’s claims. Remanded.