The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a woman’s custody rights to the two children her same-sex partner adopted during their relationship.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday backed District Judge Ed McLean’s ruling last year that granted Michelle Kulstad joint custody of the two children — a 9-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl.
The children were adopted by Kulstad’s former partner, Barbara Maniaci, in 2001 and 2004. State law does not allow both members of a same-sex partnership to adopt.
After the relationship ended, Kulstad filed in January 2007 to receive parenting rights. Maniaci, who is now married to a man, filed a motion to dismiss Kulstad’s petition.
“Maniaci cannot rewrite the history of the fact that she and Kulstad lived together for more than 10 years and jointly raised the minor children in the same household,” Justice Brian Morris wrote in the court’s 6-1 opinion.