Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller Family Law Shareholder Helen Casale provided insight to Above The Law on a recent Superior Court of Pennsylvania ruling that denied parental rights to Nicole Junior, who was not genetically related to a child carried by her wife, Chanel Glover.

Helen characterized the ruling as a total travesty, explaining that other Pennsylvania Family Law attorneys were shocked by the court’s decision and specifically, the inequitable treatment of a nonbiological parent. She examines how if this was a heterosexual couple, men who impregnate their spouses but then file for divorce before the birth would maintain parental rights. Helen uses an example of a heterosexual couple under the same circumstances to break down how the case would have a different outcome in establishing a genetic connection. She also explains that there is still hope for a reversal if Junior has a successful en banc review, when nine of the judges of the court may sit to rehear a case decided by a smaller panel of judges. Helen believes the case might be a fit for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, another way Junior could have a reversal of the Superior Court’s decision.

In the case, Glover and Junior were a legally married Pennsylvania couple who planned and had a child together. During the planning process, the couple took all of the necessary steps to demonstrate the intent to conceive a child together when one is unable to be genetically related to the child. In the middle of the pregnancy, the couple experienced marital issues where Glover filed for divorce and Junior filed an emergency petition to establish parentage to the couple’s child. In May a trial court supported Junior’s petition, but when Glover appealed the decision, the Superior Court ruled in favor of Glover citing the “Commonwealth (of Pa) permits assumption … of legal parental status, under the narrow circumstances of using assisted reproductive technology, and forming a binding agreement with respect thereto.”

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