Same-sex marriage has been an issue of contention in Michigan for a long time. In fact, prior to the United States Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that made bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, Michigan was one of the states that banned these unions. In a recent appeals court case, the lack of a marriage was one factor that was noted when the appellate court declined to permit a woman to have parental rights over a child that her former partner had during their relationship.
In this case, the women were in a relationship for 13 years starting in 2001. The child was born in 2008 to one of the women. The other woman wanted to keep in contact with the child after their break-up, but was denied access by the birth mother. The other woman took the case to court.
The appellate court ruled that the woman didn’t have any right to the child because the two women weren’t married. The court also found that there wasn’t any evidence that the women would have been married if the ban on same-sex marriage wasn’t in effect in Michigan and Florida, where the couple also resided during their relationship.
It is interesting to note that if the women had been married at the time of the child’s birth, it might have been possible for the woman to be granted parenting rights as long as three specific points were met. That is because of the equitable-parent doctrine in Michigan.
Understanding the laws and precedents in Michigan can be difficult, especially in complex cases. Making sure that you now how these apply to your case is crucial.
Source: MLive.com, “Michigan woman denied parental rights after same-sex relationship ends,” Lauren Slagter, July 07, 2016