Custody cases are often complex, as both parents via to gain an advantage in the case, each asserting that they would the superior parent. But some cases are more complex than most. A case now pending here in Michigan has to decide the difficult issue of child custody for two women who were in a same-sex relationship, but who were not married when they had their children.
They had two children after one of the women was artificially inseminated. As with many relationships, after the passage of some time, theirs deteriorated and they separated. For the non-biological mother, the custody problems began. Because she was not the biological mother and she had never formally adopted the children, to a court in Michigan she had no legal connection to the children at all.
Like many couples, at the time they had the children, they probably could not foresee their relationship failing. Spending the time and expense to go through the formal adoption process likely seemed a waste of money that could be better spent on their children.
And one commentator notes that even if they had attempted this, it is unlikely a judge in Michigan would have approved the adoption. In addition, because they never married in another state, the non-biological mother does not even have that attenuated legal arrangement to provide support for her claims.
Her attorneys have argued that the fact the couple could not marry should be factored into the court’s consideration of her custody claims. How the Michigan court may rule is unclear, given the lack of case law in the state dealing with this matter. Depending on how contentious the dispute and adamant the two women become, the Michigan Supreme Court could wind up with the issue.
Source: metrotimes.com, “Michigan case tackles unclear custody issues for same sex couples,” Allie Gross, December 9, 2015