What started out as a well-intentioned parenting arrangement has deteriorated into one of the most "bruising and distressing" cases a British family court judge has ever seen, the Telegraph reports. A gay man in a civil partnership decided to donate his sperm to a lesbian friend (also in a civil partnership), but a nearly six-year feud between the four parties over their informal deal has left their 9-year-old and 13-year-old daughters "irredeemably marred" by a "sense of mutual loathing" between all of their parents, Justice Cobb wrote in his rulings, per the Independent. The problems started when the two dads tried to get legal approval to have contact with the girls; the moms apparently didn't think that was a good idea and put up a "high-wall fortress" against anyone who didn't agree with them, according to social workers cited in the Telegraph.
Although the girls are said to be "polite and highly intelligent" by teachers, the judge believes they've suffered emotional damage from the often-bitter battle, as have the parents: The biological mother suffers from "serious mental health problems" that were only exacerbated by the infighting, the ruling says. In a move designed to end the girls' distress once and for all, the judge ruled that they'll live with their moms under social worker supervision—despite "domestic problems" between the women—and the dads will be allowed to have contact with the younger daughter on "specified occasions" and write to the older daughter, who reportedly doesn't want contact, notes the Independent. (A white woman given sperm from a black donor is suing.)