Guardianship of I.H.
GLAD represented a committed lesbian couple from Kennebec County who jointly decided to have children together. They took all legal steps available to them to protect their relationship with each other and their son, executing parenting agreements, wills, and other financial and medical documents. They also petitioned the Probate Court in Kennebec County for a full co-guardianship of their son so that either could act legally on his behalf.
The Probate Court Judge reported the case to the state’s highest court, the Maine Law Court, and asked whether two unmarried people may be co-guardians of a child if one is the natural parent and the other is not. On November 4, 2003, the Maine Law Court affirmed that the Probate Courts have the power to grant full co-guardianships in these cases, enabling gays and lesbians to create a legal relationship to their children. Co-guardianships are in place until the child is 18, unless it is terminated earlier to serve the child’s best interests. Unlike the “delegation of parental authority” that some parents complete, the co-guardianship does not have to be renewed every six months.