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US Supreme Court restores adoptive mother's visitation rights

Adopting a child is one of the most life-changing experiences a parent can have. Whether you are adopting a child from another country or one you have already been helping to raise, the process of making the parent-child relationship legal can be overpowering.

Unfortunately, the adoption process is not always as smooth and easy as many people would hope. There are complications that arise and put the child's future and a parent's rights in jeopardy. For instance, an adoptive mother recently struggled through extensive legal proceedings to finally restore her rights to have parenting time with her children.

The case involved two women who were in a committed relationship for 16 years. One of the women gave birth to three children through assisted reproduction, and the two of them raised their children together until they broke up.

Before the relationship ended, the women established a temporary residence in Georgia so that the non-biological mother could legally adopt the children they were raising together. However, the two women did break up and the biological mother started preventing her ex from spending time with their children.

At this point, the women were living in Alabama and the adoptive mother tried to enforce her rights to visitation based on her status as a recognized adoptive parent. The state Supreme Court denied her request, stating the Georgia courts misinterpreted its own laws in granting the adoption and they would therefore not recognize the adoptive status.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned this ruling and reinstated the woman's parental rights. It stated that Alabama courts had no right to disregard Georgia's judgment.

While this case did not take place in Florida, it serves as an important reminder of the complex legal challenges that adoptive parents can face when it comes to enforcing and protecting their rights. Discussing the adoption process, as well potential conflicts and obstacles that may arise, with an attorney can help you plan ahead and take steps to avoid or minimize issues that could jeopardize your family.

Source: NPR, "Same-Sex Adoption Upheld By U.S. Supreme Court," Nina Totenberg, March 8, 2016

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