Even in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s two recent landmark decisions, not all same-sex couples will elect to wed. Many will continue to cohabit and move through life just as they have prior to the SCOTUS recognition of marriage equality.
Like federal laws, the laws here in the State of Michigan also provide a constellation of benefits for married couples. Within the scope of those legislated benefits is the right to the protection of children and families; now those rights under law attach to same-sex married couples.
Because recognition of same-sex marriage and adoptions is a relatively new concept, many state actors may not do the right thing where certain non-traditional families are concerned. This is where the right law firm can be a valuable asset.
In Michigan, there are many laws that now need to be amended in the wake of the SCOTUS Obergefell decision recognizing marriage equality. For example, wherever the words “husband” or “wife” appear, the statutes must be amended to state, “spouse”.
The Michigan Law Revision Commission has been charged with this task; it is expected to take several years. In the meantime, legal disputes will undoubtedly arise.
For example, one of the most significant legal issues that remains unresolved post-Obergefell is that of the parent-child relationship in same-sex marriages. Therefore, our law firm assists same-sex clients with affirming the parent-child relationship for each parent.
We have utilized creative solutions to affirming the parent-child relationship following the recent SCOTUS marriage equality case:
- Stepparent Adoption – where one parent is either the biological parent or has sole legal custody, a stepparent adoption procedure often can be implemented to affirm the other spouse’s parental rights;
- Affidavit of Parentage – this document has been traditionally utilized for unmarried heterosexual couples and we have began using the document to affirm parentage for one or both spouses in a same-sex marriage; and
- Order of Filiation – this method of affirming parentage involves prompting a family court judge to issue an order of filiation which, when entered, provides the parent(s) identified on the order with full parental rights.
When a same-sex couple calls it quits, complicated issues of child custody, support and property rights can arise. Such a couple will need experienced skilled counsel to resolve such legal issues in this new era of marital equality.
Also, when setting out to construct a family, same-sex couples that decide not to wed will have certain planning options with which our law firm can assist. For example, the question of whether to enter into contractual cohabitation agreements, adoption, or surrogacy contracts.
Getting agreements executed for such issues is important to grant a parent standing in a family court. Ignoring these issues can result in being shut out of a child’s life.
These issues remain on the cutting-edge of family law. If you or a loved one face uncertainty moving forward on such a front, contact our law firm for a free consult to discuss your options.