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Same-sex parents in Michigan may see new custody outcome

Since the legalization of gay marriage with the Supreme Court ruling in June that lifted the ban in Michigan and 12 other states, same-sex couples in Michigan have been celebrating this right. When same-sex couples in the state have domestic issues, the laws governing their legal separation and child custody issues are not yet clear. This has introduced new challenges for the state’s court systems.

In one such case, the Michigan Supreme Court suspended a child custody case that was thrown out by the Court of Appeals in 2013 until after the Obergefell ruling in June, which lifted the ban on same-sex marriages. The action for custody and visitation rights was originally filed in 2009 with the Dickinson County Circuit Court.

The circuit court dismissed the claims because the couple’s marriage, which was performed in Canada, was not legal in Michigan. The child’s other parent appealed the decision in an attempt to get custody and visitation rights. This had been the couple’s intention when they separated, although they were unable to agree on the arrangement. The child was born before the couple married, but it is not known if there was a legal adoption.

Because this case was re-opened, a change in the ruling by the Court of Appeals may set a precedent for other couples with custody issues who were legally married in other states but separated before June. Anyone seeking custody or visitation rights of a child after divorce may benefit from the advice of an attorney who is familiar with the Michigan legal system.

Source: Pride Source, “Michigan Supreme Court Orders Reconsideration Of Custody Case Involving Lesbian Parents,” by Todd Heywood, Sep. 12, 2015

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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