Lesbian ordered to pay child support

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com November 02 2002 1:00 AM ET

A family court commissioner has ordered a woman in Newark, Del., to begin making child support payments for her estranged lesbian partner's 5-year-old son.

The ruling, signed Wednesday by family court commissioner John Carrow, makes Delaware one of a handful of states where gay people have been ordered to pay child support to their estranged partners.

Earlier this year, Carrow set a state precedent by ruling, in effect, that the boy, referred to in court papers as David, has two mothers. The biological mother, referred to in court by the pseudonym Karen Chambers, became pregnant through in vitro fertilization. She sought mandatory child support for the boy after her estranged partner, referred to in court as Carol, was awarded permanent visitation rights two years ago.

The order calls for Carol, who works at an automobile assembly plant, to pay $501 a month in support, plus $41 a month to cover retroactive obligations. "That's what I was asking for," said Karen, who has been unemployed for several years and receives stress-related disability payments. "I'm just hoping it doesn't go to appeal after appeal."