The supreme court in Ohio ruled today that a non-birth parent was to be refused parental rights to her child.
The couple in question, Michelle Hobbs and Kelly Mullens, who separated after their daughter’s birth, took to the courts to thrash out their settlement.
The court ruled that Hobbs isn’t a parent, and she was urged to relinquish her parental rights. Kelly Mullen, the child’s biological mother, is her only mother it added.
Justice Robert Cupp wrote: “Hobbs was a non-parent under Ohio law despite her active role in raising and caring for the child”. In the majority opinion of the case that split 4-3 on the decision.
When the couple decided to have a child Mullens nominated Hobbs as the child’s guardian and noted that she wanted her to have parental rights “in every way” over the child.
Yet Hobbs resisted the opportunity to solidify those wishes in writing, something that ultimately lead to the decision today.
Matthew Staver, dean of the Liberty University school of law said, “Ohio has not recognized de facto parents … (based on) alleged emotional bonds”.
This case proves the law shamefully lags behind on this issue. Douglas Dougherty, Mullen’s Attorney said: “a far, far better approach is to get it in writing… Everybody could benefit from some clarification here.” he added.