661 S.E.2d 822 (Va. 2008), 070933, Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins

Docket Nº:Record No. 070933.
Citation:661 S.E.2d 822, 276 Va. 19
Opinion Judge:OPINION BY Justice BARBARA MILANO KEENAN.
Party Name:Lisa MILLER-JENKINS v. Janet MILLER-JENKINS.
Attorney:Mathew D. Staver, Orlando, FL (Rena M. Lindevaldsen, Longwood, FL; Liberty Counsel, Orlando, FL, on briefs), for appellant,, Joseph R. Price, Washington, DC (Gregory R. Nevins; Rebecca Glenberg, Richmond; Arent Fox, Washington, DC; Lambda Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, Inc.; American Civil Liberties...
Case Date:June 06, 2008
Court:Supreme Court of Virginia
 
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Page 822

661 S.E.2d 822 (Va. 2008)

276 Va. 19

Lisa MILLER-JENKINS

v.

Janet MILLER-JENKINS.

Record No. 070933.

Supreme Court of Virginia.

June 6, 2008

Page 823

Mathew D. Staver, Orlando, FL (Rena M. Lindevaldsen, Longwood, FL; Liberty Counsel, Orlando, FL, on briefs), for appellant.

Joseph R. Price, Washington, DC (Gregory R. Nevins; Rebecca Glenberg, Richmond; Arent Fox, Washington, DC; Lambda Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, Inc.; American Civil Liberties of Virginia Foundation, Richmond, on brief), for appellee.

Amicus Curiae: Com. of VA (Robert F. McDonnell, Atty. Gen.: William E. Thro, State Sol. Gen.; Stephen R. McCullough, Deputy State Sol. Gen.; William C. Mims, Chief Deputy Atty. Gen.; David E. Johnson, Deputy Atty. Gen.; Matthew M. Cobb, Asst. Atty. Gen., on brief), in support of appellant.

Amicus Curiae: American Center of Law and Justice (Vincent P. McCarthy; Kristina

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J. Wenberg; Erik M. Zimmerman; Benjamin P. Sisney, on brief), in support of appellant.

Amicus Curiae: National Legal Foundation (Steven W. Fitschen; Barry C. Hodge, on brief), in support of appellant.

Amicus Curiae: Michael A. Cox, Atty. Gen. of the State of Michigan (Henry J. Boynton, Asst. Sol. Gen.; Alison P. Landry, Senior Asst. Atty. Gen., on brief), in support of appellant.

Amici Curiae: Nat. Ass'n of Counsel for Children; Virginia Chapter of the Nat. Ass'n of Social Workers; Virginia Women Attys. Ass'n; Virginia Nat. Organization for Women; Virginia Organizing Project; Professor Joan H. Hollinger (Thomas M. Wolf; Megan A. Scanlon; LeClair Ryan, on brief), in support of appellee.

Present: All the Justices.

OPINION

Justice BARBARA MILANO KEENAN.

[276 Va. 22] In this appeal, we consider whether the Court of Appeals erred in directing a circuit court to register a custody and visitation order rendered by a Vermont court, based on the Court of Appeals' previous holding in the same custody and visitation dispute that the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1738A (2000 & Supp. V 2005), requires that the courts of this Commonwealth give full faith and credit to the Vermont order.

In 2000, Lisa Miller-Jenkins (Lisa) and Janet Miller-Jenkins (Janet) entered into a civil union (the civil union) in Vermont that was permitted under Vermont law.1 Lisa and Janet decided that Lisa would bear a child, and in April 2002, after successful artificial [276 Va. 23] insemination, Lisa gave birth to IMJ 2 in Virginia. Lisa, Janet, and IMJ lived together in Virginia until July 2002, when they moved to Vermont, where they lived until September 2003. At that time, Lisa and IMJ returned permanently to Virginia over Janet's objection.

In November 2003, Lisa filed a petition in a Vermont family court (the Vermont court), seeking to dissolve the civil union and to gain custody of IMJ. The Vermont court dissolved the civil union and entered a custody and visitation order (the Vermont custody order) granting temporary custody of IMJ to Lisa and temporary visitation rights to Janet. After initially allowing Janet to visit IMJ in June, Lisa thereafter refused to permit Janet to have contact with IMJ as required by the terms of the Vermont custody order.

On July 1, 2004, Lisa filed a petition in the Frederick County Circuit Court (the circuit court), asking the circuit court to determine that Lisa was IMJ's “sole parent" and seeking sole custody of IMJ. On July 7, 2004, Janet filed a motion in the Vermont court seeking enforcement of the Vermont custody order and a determination that Lisa was in contempt of that court for her failure to abide by the terms of the Vermont custody order. On July 19, 2004, the Vermont court entered an order holding that the Vermont court had continuing jurisdiction over all custody matters in the case, and that the Vermont court would not defer to an order entered by a court in another state purporting to resolve the issue of custody.

In August 2004, the circuit court entered an order temporarily awarding sole custody of IMJ to Lisa and ordered that IMJ not be removed from Virginia (the Virginia custody order). Because the Vermont custody order included a provision granting Janet scheduled visitation with IMJ in Vermont, the Virginia custody order was in direct conflict with the Vermont custody order. In September 2004, the Vermont court issued an order holding Lisa in contempt for violating the terms of the Vermont custody order.

In October 2004, the circuit court concluded that it had jurisdiction over the custody dispute and entered an order awarding sole custody to Lisa, holding that Janet did not have any parental rights, and that Lisa was IMJ's “sole" parent. In November 2004, the Vermont court issued a contrary order holding

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that Lisa and Janet were both “parents" of IMJ.

[276 Va. 24] In January 2005, Janet appealed the Virginia custody order to...

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