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Judge Thomas Rademaker

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A hearing was conducted to determine if JC had standing to seek custodial and visitation rights of the subject children against biological mother NP in the absence of a pre-conception agreement. The court found guidance in the Court of Appeals decision In the Matter of Brooke S.B., noting it was doubtful the court meant that no test should apply in the absence of a pre-conception agreement. It looked to the doctrine of equitable estoppel for guidance herein, finding JC—who entered into a same-gender relationship with NP, and almost immediately after inception of same, NP was successfully artificially inseminated and became pregnant with the couples’ first child—established by clear and convincing evidence that NP created, fostered and furthered a parent-like relationship between JC and the subject children. It found that beginning days after the older child’s conception, and continuing even after the termination of the parties’ own relationship, NP acted as if JC was a parent, acknowledging to her, the children and others that JC was “Mommy” to the subject children. The court ruled both NP and the children benefitted from this parent-like relationship on a daily basis for years. Thus it adjudicated JC to be the children’s parent who had standing to seek custody and visitation.