The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported on the case of Nicole Junior and Chanel Glover, a formerly married LGBTQ couple fighting over parental rights. They had started their family together via in vitro fertilization (IVF), with Glover carrying the child. Although they retained a lawyer in preparation for doing a co-parent (second-parent) adoption, they divorced before this took place leading to a legal battle over parental rights and setting a precedent for defining parenthood in the state.
Junior and Glover’s case became a test case for the rights of families formed through assisted reproductive technology, highlighting the absence of a legal definition of parenthood in Pennsylvania. Traditionally, courts relied on biology and marriage, but with the increasing use of reproductive technologies and diverse family structures, these criteria are no longer sufficient.
The couple’s journey involved extensive fertility treatments, contracts, and promises, creating a complex legal landscape. Despite the dissolution of their marriage, Junior sought recognition as a legal parent to the child they conceived together. The court ruling emphasized “intent-based parentage,” considering the expressed intentions of both parties involved even in the absence of a genetic or marital connection.
Legal experts celebrated the decision as a significant victory for civil rights. However, the article notes that the case has caused anguish for all involved, and Glover is appealing to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court does not hear the case, the Superior Court decision will stand, leading to a custody hearing between the two mothers. Glover v. Junior raises questions about the evolving nature of parenthood in modern times, especially in the context of reproductive technologies, and emphasizes the emotional complexities that legal battles over parental rights can bring.
In the State of New Jersey, the Court will not make a decision regarding custody of an unborn child but this case gives some legal precedence for the Court to look back at the efforts and intent of the parties involved as to whether both parents should share custody of the child when it is born. If you or a loved one have questions related to custody of a child the firm of Adinolfi, Roberto, Burick and Molotsky are here to help. It is never too early to start planning.
A South Jersey native, Ryan Foran is an an attorney at ALBRM. He focuses his practice on all aspects of family law, including cases involving custody disputes.