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Supreme Court Ruling Raises New Questions About Step-Parents and Adoption

With the United States Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Obergefell v Hodges, issued on June 26, 2015, states are now required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize marriages between same-sex couples validly performed in other jurisdictions.  This ruling represents a watershed moment for all aspects of family law, including adoption.

In Michigan, a married couple or a single person may adopt.  Prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, if a same-sex couple desired to adopt a child, only one of the partners could be named in the petition.  The adopting partner would be the only person with parental rights to the child.  The other partner would have absolutely no rights to the care, custody, and control of the child.  If the couple were to separate for some reason, the non-adopting partner would have no rights to visitation or shared custody of the child.  There was a very real possibility that the non-adoptive partner might never again see the child that they had raised while the couple was together.  I personally have seen this happen on more than one occasion. 

With the Supreme Court's ruling, many of the couples that had adopted under these circumstances are now marrying.  Then, is it possible for the non-adopting partner to obtain the parental rights that were denied to them prior to the couple marrying?  The answer is yes;  by means of step -parent adoption.  

Step-parent adoption permits a person who marries another person with legal custody of a child to adopt that child without terminating the rights of the new spouse.  Only the rights of the non-custodial parent of the child are terminated.  

If you or someone you know is dealing with a situation similar to what was just described, give the family law attorneys at ADAM a call at (248) 327-0050.  We handle all aspects of family law, including adoption, divorce, child support, custody, and paternity.  You can talk with an experienced family law practitioner that will help you figure out your best course of action.

About ADAM (American Divorce Association for Men)

The American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM) is a group of highly qualified attorneys who advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child custody and parenting time, paternity, support, property settlement, post judgment modifications, and other family law matters. Since 1988, ADAM has been aggressive, diligent, and uncompromising in fighting for the rights of every client. To request a free phone consultation, call (248) 327-0050.

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