We’ve written a few posts in the past about the custody battle being waged between Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins, a Vermont couple who had a daughter together in 2002 but eventually separated and soon became locked in a custody fight after Miller moved to Virginia, became a Christian active in Jerry Falwell’s church, and sought sole custody of their daughter, Isabella, with the representation of the Falwell-founded Liberty Counsel.
The fight has dragged on for years and earlier this month, a Vermont judge ordered Miller to transfer custody to Jenkins due to the fact that Miller had repeatedly refused to abide by court-ordered custody arrangements.
Miller was ordered to do so by Jan. 1, 2010, but it looks like that might not happen because nobody seems to know where Miller and Isabella are:
A Rutland Family Court judge has refused to delay an order that transfers custody of a child from a Virginia mother to her former lesbian partner in Fair Haven.
But with the whereabouts of Lisa Miller and 7-year-old Isabella Miller presently “unknown,” it remains to be seen whether the first of its kind parent custody switch takes place when the court order takes effect on New Year’s Day.
Miller, who renounced homosexuality, and her former partner Janet Jenkins have been battling over visitation rights since they ended their civil union in Vermont in 2003. After the pair split, Miller returned to her home state of Virginia while Jenkins remained in Fair Haven.
After finding Miller in contempt of court earlier this year for denying Jenkins access to Isabella, Judge William Cohen said he decided the only way to ensure the child equal access to both parents was to switch custody and he issued an order requiring the transfer be made by Jan. 1, 2010.
Miller’s attorneys filed a motion earlier this month asking Cohen to delay his order until an appeal in the Virginia court system — regarding whether that state needed to enforce the Vermont order — was decided.
But in a two-page decision issued by Cohen, the judge said Miller failed to meet the legal burden required to delay the order in part because she has not appeared in court nor spoken with her attorneys about the case for more than a month.
“Ms. Miller has not demonstrated that she is entitled to a stay….Instead, it appears that Ms. Miller has ceased contact with her attorneys and disappeared with (Isabella)….Such conduct does not show that a stay is warranted,” Cohen wrote.
The whereabouts of Miller couldn’t be determined on Monday.
Jenkins’ attorney, Middlebury lawyer Sarah Star, said she didn’t know where Miller was, but hoped she was still at her home in Virginia and was simply not communicating with her attorneys.