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Does Michigan recognize de facto parents in same-sex cases?

You have been involved in a relationship with another person of the same sex in Clinton Township. Together, you decided that you wanted to be parents. Your partner contributed the sperm or was inseminated, and therefore is the biological parent. On the other hand, you have no biological connection to the child and you never legally adopted the child. Do you have rights as a de facto parent if the relationship has ended?

According to the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the short answer is yes, but it may depend on what your situation is with the child and the other parent. Now that marriage between same-sex couples has been legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals has already been asked to make this type of decision and in the case, ruled in favor of the nonbiological parent.

A de facto parent is essentially a third party who takes on the role of parent, and you will need to prove to the court that you meet the requirements. This may involve showing documentation that you publicly acted as a parent, participated jointly in making decisions for the child, and that a relationship between you and the child was encouraged by the biological parent. For instance, perhaps the child calls you “mom” or “dad,” and you have regularly taken the child to doctor’s visits as a parent. That may be enough to back up your claim and give you rights to visitation with the child.

This is what one woman managed to do after her marriage to another woman fell apart. As a nonbiological parent, she filed an appeal after the trial court ruled that the de facto parent did not apply in cases that involved same-sex parents. The woman’s spouse was the biological parent and refused to allow her to see the child even though an arrangement had been made. This information is not to be used as any form of legal advice; it is only intended to be informational in nature.

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

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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