Same-Sex Couple's Attempt to Draw Up Wills and Assign Custody Lands Them in the Supreme Court
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Jayne Rowse and April DeBoer's close call with an oncoming truck made them realize they needed to provide for each other, and their children. But their trip to a Detroit lawyer's office to draw up their wills and assign custody of their children brought grave news. The lawyer told the couple that guardianship papers would be nearly worthless legally. In Michigan, two unmarried people may not jointly adopt a child, so their children were adopted by a single parent, leaving the other parent no legal claim to the other children. If either of them died, a judge could order the children adopted by the deceased parent to live in foster care or with another relative. Together, Rowse and DeBoer have four children. The couple's lawyer encouraged them to file a federal suit challenging Michigan's adoption law, but when she approached gay rights groups asking for support, they all declined. They said she would lose the case. Nonetheless, the couple filed the suit in 2012, and were fortunate enough to get Bernard A. Friedman as their District Court Judge. He encouraged Rowse and DeBoer to change their course and take on Michigan's law banning same-sex marriage. He then ruled in their favor, creating a domino effect of 300 gay and lesbian couples to be married in Michigan, however the ruling was overturned in November. On January 16th, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Rowse's and DeBoer's case challenging Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage. The court is expected the rule by June whether all 50 states must allow same-sex marriage. Source: The New York Times
Posted under: Estate Litigation, LGBT

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