In November of 2021, the Missouri Court of Appeals handed down an important decision. It found that in the divorce of two women, the non-biological mother had the right to both legal and physical custody of a child born during the marriage even though no adoption had occurred. The court rejected the biological parent’s argument that Missouri law was phrased in masculine terms like “father” “him” and “his.”

The Court went further than just recognizing these rights: the non-biological mother was awarded final decision-making rights (after conferring with the biological mother) and her address is to be used as that of the child for education and mailing purposes.

This decision is significant in places like St. Louis County and City where it was a common practice to file a “second parent adoption” is such situations.

The case is Schaberg v. Schaberg, handed down November 2, 2021 by the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District (this is where St. Louis is located).