Alabama Supreme Court has told a woman that the Georgia adoption of her ex-partner’s three children is not valid, and that she is no longer their legal guardian, even though Georgia legally authorized it when they lived there.
Georgia also allowed the woman to legally be listed on their birth certificates.
During the adoption process, the couple were living in both Georgia and Alabama; they were advised by friends to take residence in Georgia because of that state’s better tolerance of LGBT adoption. They traveled between states for a time.
The couple had been together for 16 years, but separated and now Alabama courts have denied the woman of visitation rights because they question the validity of the original Georgia adoption ruling.
"Georgia law makes no provision for a non-spouse to adopt a child without first terminating the parental rights of the current parents," The Alabama justices said.
The woman’s partner did not terminate those rights therefore bolstering Alabama justice’s ruling. In fact, it was the woman’s partner who, after the relationship ended, pointed out that the Georgia ruling may be invalid.
To make things even more confusing, the Alabama family court system recognized the adoption earlier, but on Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court overturned that decision entirely.
According to an ABC News report , the couple lived in Hoover, Ala. but rented an apartment in Alpharetta, Ga., two-and-a-half hours away.
Cathy Sakimura, the lawyer for the woman says her client is very distraught, and that she had raised the kids since they were born.
"Even though we have marriage equality there are still these challenges for same-sex parents in being recognized as a family," she said.
Sakimura also says that it is wrong that Alabama won’t accept Georgia’s previous order recognizing the woman as a legal parent.
The woman may appeal the Supreme Court’s ruling, "I am just a Mom who wanted and prayed for these children and raised them from birth, and I hope every day that we can be together again."
Timothy Rawles is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at email@example.com, @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.