Carvin v. Britain (In re Parentage of L.B.)

Carvin v. Britain (In re Parentage of L.B.), 155 Wn.2d 679, 122 P.3d 161 (Wash. 2005) involved two women in an intimate relationship who decided to have a baby by artificial insemination. Id. at 164. When the child was born, the women and the child lived together as a family unit with both women sharing parenting responsibilities. Id. The child called her biological mother "mama" and the mother's partner "mommy." Id. When the child was six, the parties separated, and shortly thereafter, the biological mother unilaterally terminated the relationship between the child and her former partner. Id. The court looked to Washington's statutes and found that they were "conspicuously silent" regarding the rights of children in nontraditional families. Id. at 169. However, the court found that the statutes displayed an intent to protect the welfare of children and did not provide any evidence that the legislature intended to preempt the court's common law jurisprudence over circumstances not yet contemplated by the legislature. Id. at 172-73, 176-77. Thus the court held that a de facto parent would have standing and remanded to the district court for a determination of whether the partner qualified as a de facto parent. Id. at 179.