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New Jersey Gay Couple Wins Full Custody of Twin Daughters

January 23, 2012 | Posted In Family Law - Custody, Same-Sex

A gay couple In New Jersey has been granted full custody of their 5-year-old twin daughters after a long and complicated dispute with the children’s surrogate mother.

The gay couple, Donald and Sean Hollingsworth of Jersey City, conceived their daughters using donated eggs. The eggs were fertilized by Sean Hollingsworth and implanted into the children’s surrogate, who is Donald Hollingsworth’s sister. The sister, Angelia Robinson, did not provide the eggs and is not the children’s biological mother from a genetic standpoint.

Needless to say, this is far from the typical child custody dispute that New Jersey family lawyers come across. 

Robinson and the Hollingsworths entered into an agreement in 2005, under which Robinson become a surrogate mother for her brother and his partner.  In the beginning, Robinson donated her eggs, but that process did not work, and donor eggs were used.  When the children were born, the Hollingsworths got custody of the children. 

However, the relationship between the two men and Robinson, who had access to the girls, quickly began to deteriorate.  A few months later, she filed a lawsuit, claiming that she had been forced into the surrogacy agreement.  The dispute between Angelia Robinson and the Hollingsworths centered on who would best care for the girls. 

A Hudson County Superior Court judge has since awarded full custody to the biological father, Sean Hollingsworth.  Robinson, however, will continue to retain some parental visitation rights.  The judge partly based his decision on his belief that joint legal custody was not possible in this case because of the extremely strained relations between Robinson and the Hollingsworths. 

The New Jersey family lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in divorce, child custody, child support, domestic violence and other family law-related matters across New Jersey.


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