Partanen v. GallagherAnnotate this Case
Karen Partanen and Julie Gallagher were in a committed, nonmarital relationship for twelve years. Using in vitro fertilization and with Partanen’s full participation and consent, Gallagher fave birth the two children. The parties jointly raised the children until their separation. Partanen subsequently filed this action to establish full legal parentage pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209C, 6(a)(4). Gallagher filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. A judge of the probate and family court allowed the motion, concluding that Partanen could not be deemed a presumed parent under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209C, 6(a)(4) because she was not the children’s biological parent. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) a person may establish herself as a child’s presumptive parent under the statute in the absence of a biological relationship with the child; and (2) the assertions in Partanen’s complaint were sufficient to state a claim of parentage under the statute. Remanded.