A woman fights her ex-husband for custody of her children when he sues for custody after learning that she is living in a relationship with another woman.



Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Ray Guettner
Barbara Moreland
Dwayne Stabler
Mike Guettner
Joan Saltzman
Richard Freeman
Billy Guettner (as Keith Mitchell)
Josh Albee ...
David Guettner
Mrs. Hunnicutt
Gwen Arner ...
Dr. Tippit
John Harkins ...
Dr. Berwick
Susan Moreland
S. John Launer ...
The Judge
Donald Hotton


When waitress Linda Ray and her children move in with another woman and her child, everyone assumes it's just a matter of two divorced moms pooling resources to make ends meet. But when Linda Ray's adolescent son realizes that the two women are sharing a bed, he tells his father, and a battle for custody begins - a fight that a lesbian mother in the 1970s will find hard to win. Written by Morganalee

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Release Date:

26 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Purely Legal Matter  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on the true story of lesbian mother Mary Jo Risher's fight to retain custody of her children. See more »

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User Reviews

Phenomenal, poignant made-for-TV drama about a lesbian woman fighting for custody of her son.
11 November 1998 | by (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

Groundbreaking drama of lesbian mother (Rowlands), happily sharing a home with her lover (Alexander) and their respective children. Rowlands' children were previously unaware of the sexual relationship. When the oldest son finds out, he leaves and moves in with his father, who then proceeds to initiate legal proceedings to win custody of the other children. Extraordinarily well-acted and directed, with very little sentimentality and virtually no political dogma. This film set the standard for mature, thoughtful presentations of homosexuality in everyday life, and every one of the players is exceptional. Oddly, this received very little backlash at the time it first aired, while today it would bring the pious out in droves to stage protests and boycotts. As the forerunner of a long string of films tackling the subject matter in the 80s and 90s, this is the film to look at to see just how far we haven't come.

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