MONTPELIER, Vt. -- A woman embroiled in a child custody battle with her former civil union partner said yesterday that she would ask a judge to order that she be given "full physical custody" of a child born to the other woman.
Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven also said she had obeyed a child support order issued last month and had just arranged her second $240 monthly payment to Lisa Miller of Winchester, Va., for the care of Isabella, the now 4-year-old girl born during the women's civil union.
Jenkins said she sent the first check by certified mail, only to have it returned, and tried to make the second payment through an Internet bill-paying service.
Jenkins said she expected that the dissolution of her civil union with Miller will be made final in April. As part of the final order, she said, she planned to ask for full custody, allowing for supervised visits between Miller and Isabella.
She said she would tell the court "that she's (Miller has) kidnapped and blocked me for two years from my child."
Miller did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
They were the latest developments in a long-running legal battle that at times had pitted courts in Vermont and Virginia against one another and which has gained national attention as an early test of some of the legal ramifications of Vermont's civil unions law.
In 2000, Vermont became the first state in the nation to offer legal recognition to same-sex relationships when it passed a law allowing civil unions. At the same time, it set up a process called dissolution -- similar to divorce -- when such unions are ended.
Jenkins and Miller, then living in Virginia, which does not recognize civil unions, traveled to Vermont and entered a civil union in 2001. In April 2002, Miller gave birth to Isabella. The child was conceived by artificial insemination.
The women moved to Vermont and their relationship foundered. Miller filed for a dissolution of the civil union in Rutland Family Court and returned to Virginia with Isabella. She blocked Jenkins's efforts to see Isabella.
Since then, the legal battle has played out on parallel tracks in the two states. Miller won a Virginia court order declaring her Isabella's sole parent.