Vermont's New Families

Any maple syrup connoisseur will tell you that Vermont is the home of the best maple syrup the U.S. has to offer. Now, it can be a little bit sweeter, as Vermont has taken a step to expand who can be a parent to a child.

In Sinnott v. Peck, 2017 VT 115, allowed for an expansion of the definition of parent in Vermont (although, much like Vermont’s famous maple syrup, the change is very slow). In that case, Vermont’s highest court explicitly refused to acknowledge whether a non-adoptive and non-biological party can be a parent; however, it did acknowledge that that parent might have standing to challenge for custody.

It is important to note that this case has a very limited application, and it is a shame that that Court did not adopt a wide rule, such as courts in Wisconsin and Maryland have. Nevertheless, this is a victory for anyone who believes that bonds between parents and children should not be constrained by legal loopholes.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. If you have any legal concerns, please contact an attorney qualified to practice law in your state or district.

Ben Schenker