States’ rulings conflict regarding parentage of girl with two mothers
December 28, 2004
By Karen Chaffraix
The child custody case of two former Loudoun County women who formed and then dissolved a civil union in Vermont has advanced a step along a path that some say may lead to the Supreme Court.
Lisa Miller-Jenkins, 36, met Janet Miller-Jenkins, 40, in Virginia in 1997. Deciding they wanted legal rights for the children they intended to have together, the women traveled to Vermont to be joined in civil union in 2000.
Both women came back to Virginia, where Lisa, pregnant by artificial insemination, gave birth to a daughter, Isabella, in 2002.
Shortly thereafter, deciding Vermont would be more accepting of their version of domesticity, the family moved to a small town in western Vermont. Lisa became pregnant again, according to reports, but lost the baby and became depressed.
By fall of 2003, Lisa moved with Isabella back to Winchester, where she had family.
Prior to leaving Vermont, however, she instigated a legal severance of the union. She waived her right to challenge Janet Miller-Jenkins’ parentage rights and asked the judge to address custody matters.
Not long after the Vermont judge dissolved the civil union and granted custody rights to Janet Miller-Jenkins, Lisa Miller-Jenkins changed her mind. She retained Virginia lawyers and filed in Frederick County for full custody of Isabella.