Kristie Vowels and Tracy Scourfield had been a couple for more than four years and had gone through counseling to help them decide whether to have a child together. Scourfield gave birth to their daughter, conceived through IVF, on May 21, 2004.
A little more than a year later, the two women broke up and Scourfield and the little girl moved out of Vowels’ home – although Vowels’ continued to help support the child financially. The women agreed to and operated on a visitation schedule very similar to what is considered “standard visitation” in a heterosexual custody case.
But in April 2007, Scourfield abruptly cut off Vowels’ contact with the child. A month later Vowels filed suit – seeking conservatorship with a legally binding visitation schedule.
The Dallas Voice reports: “…in a surprise move, [the court] reversed itself and ruled that Kristie Vowels does have standing to sue for joint custody of her child with a former partner. Michelle May O’Neill, Vowels’ attorney, said Wednesday, Dec. 2 that the ruling handed down the previous day had come as a complete surprise, since the three-judge panel had already ruled against Vowels in a September decision.”
Custody Fight Between Lesbian Moms in Dallas
The Dallas Voice uncovers a domestic tug-of-war that is surfacing in Texas news. As a matter of fact, this custody case may set a precedent in the Lone Star State.
Tracy Scourfield has cut all ties between her biological daughter and her former partner, Kristie Vowels. Vowels has filed a lawsuit seeking joint custody and the right to adopt the 4-year-old.
The Voice’s Tammye Nash describes the situation: “According to information provided by Vowels and her attorneys, Vowels and Scourfield moved in together in December 1998. After several years of discussion and several sessions with a therapist, the two women decided to have a child through artificial insemination, with Scourfield as the biological mother and sperm from an anonymous donor.
“The child was born May 21, 2004. She was given Vowels’ first name as her middle name, and her last name was a hyphenated combination of her mothers’ last names.”
Vowels and Scourfield separated 15 months after the child was born, and they agreed to a visitation schedule similar to a ‘standard’ visitation schedule between divorced parents in Texas. The child lived with Scourfield, but regularly stayed overnight at Vowels’ home. Holidays were also considered shared time.
But, of course Vowels and Scourfield were not married and they are not divorced. Legally Vowels is “a stranger” to her own child.