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Brandon Family Law Center, LLC

Supporting Families from Birth to Legacy

Brandon Family Law Center, LLC

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Lesbian mom appeals overturned adoption to the Supreme Court

Florida readers may be interested to learn that a lesbian mother in Alabama has appealed her case to the U.S. Supreme Court after an Alabama court refused to recognize her out-of-state adoption. The woman claims that the ruling keeps her from seeing her former partner's children, whom she has helped raise since birth.

The plaintiff's former partner gave birth to three children, conceived with the help of a sperm donor, during their 16-year relationship. In 2007, a Georgia court granted the plaintiff's petition to adopt the children. However, once the couple split, her former partner fought her visitation rights, claiming the couple lived in Alabama but only rented a home in Georgia because they had heard the state was friendlier to gay and lesbian adoptions.

In September, the Alabama Supreme Court overturned the plaintiff's visitation rights and ruled the adoption was invalid. In its decision, the court said Georgia had no right to grant the adoption because Georgia law does not allow non-spousal adoptions unless the parental rights of the current parents have been terminated. A representative for the National Center for Lesbian Rights said Alabama's ruling was "terrifying" and the state had no right to second-guess the ruling of the Georgia court. She said the "constitutional violation" harmed the children in the case and potentially called into question adoption judgments nationwide.

Despite recent legal advancements, members of the LGBT community still face many unique family law challenges. Gay and lesbian individuals with questions about adoption or custody issues in Florida may want to discuss them with an attorney.

Source: ABC News, "Lesbian Mother Appeals Alabama Adoption Decision," Kim Chandler, Nov. 16, 2015

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