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Same-sex custody case lawsuit allowed to proceed

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A same-sex custody case lawsuit is allowed to proceed after a U.S. District Court judge in Vermont issued a ruling this week. The lawsuit was filed by a woman whose former civil union partner left the country with the couple's child instead of sharing custody. The judge ruled the lawsuit could proceed because one of the defendants is set to be sentenced in a separate criminal case.

In the ruling from the Vermont judge on Monday, the lawsuit was actually expanded to include other individuals and groups that were believed to help in the flight of the plaintiff's former partner and their daughter from Virginia.

The civil lawsuit was filed not long after a Mennonite pastor was convicted of criminal charges stemming from helping the defendant and the girl flee Virginia in 2012. The defendant and the girl fled the country to Canada through Buffalo back in 2009. They then flew to Nicaragua, where they are believed to still be residing to this day.

A Virginia businessman was convicted of conspiracy and international parental kidnapping in September of 2016 for his role in the flight of the defendant and the girl from the United States. The Virginia businessman is scheduled to be sentenced in a federal court in Buffalo on Wednesday, which allows the civil case to resume. The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.

The plaintiff and the defendant entered into a civil union not long after Vermont legalized same-sex relationships back in 2000. The defendant is the woman who gave birth to the child. She was impregnated via artificial insemination. Both women acted as parents to the child.

When the couple split, the defendant moved to Virginia with the girl as she received full custody. The plaintiff in the case was given visitation rights. The defendant ignored court orders to grant visitation and decided to flee when she learned that custody would be given to the plaintiff.

An experienced family law attorney can answer all of your child custody questions in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Source: US News, "Lawsuit in Long-Running Same-Sex Custody Case to Proceed," WILSON RING, March 21, 2017

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