In states, such as Illinois, that do not recognize same-sex marriage, separating, particularly in cases where there are children involved, can be difficult for gay and lesbian couples. Even if the intent when a child was conceived or adopted was to raise him or her together, without legally binding agreements, one parent or the other may find themselves with no parental rights for a child who they love and helped to raise.
According to reports, a judge in a Michigan appellate court recently agreed with the ruling from a lower court that a woman cannot seek child custody or other parental rights for the child of her former same-sex partner. The decision to dismiss the woman’s lawsuit, as well as the decision to uphold the dismissal, was largely based on the fact that the woman’s partner is the child’s biological mother. Since same-sex marriage is not recognized in Michigan, and it appears they did not have any kind of co-parenting agreement, the courts ruled the woman does not have any legal standing.
The woman reportedly claimed that she had also been involved in raising and caring for the child during his or her early life. It was not reported whether the child was born prior to the two women’s marriage or if the couple had decided to have a child together and he or she was conceived during the couple’s relationship.
For couples of all types, determining child custody arrangements can be one of the most complicated aspects of splitting up. If you are in a child custody dispute, it may be of benefit to consult with an experienced attorney to discuss your options. A lawyer will be able to offer advice based on the circumstances in your individual situation and address any other concerns that you may have.
Source: WNMU-FM, “Court says Dickinson County woman has no claim on child”, Nicole Walton, Oct. 22, 2013