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Supreme Court Adoption Ruling Recognizes Adoptive Parent Rights

Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County adoption attorneys, adoptive parent rights,On March 7, 2016, the United States Supreme Court further solidified the rights of adoptive parents by upholding the rights of an adoptive parent.

The Case: V.L. v. E.L.

The case involves two women, E.L. and V.L., who were together for 16 years. While together, E.L. gave birth to three children and both E.L. and V.L. raised the children from birth. Originally based in Alabama, the family moved to Georgia and took advantage of the more favorable adoption laws in Georgia so V.L. could legally adopt the children in what is typically called a “second parent adoption." Second parent adoptions allow another person to be an adoptive parent to children without the current parent giving up his or her own parental rights. Second parent adoption is often used by same-sex couples and stepparents when one of the biological parents is out of the picture.

E.L. and V.L. never married or engaged in a civil union. They moved back to Alabama with the kids and later broke up. V.L. moved out of the house and tried to take advantage of her parental rights by asking for court ordered visitation with the children.

E.L. argued that V.L.’s parental rights should not be recognized in Alabama because the adoption was done in Georgia and that Alabama should not have to give rights to an adoptive parent who would not be allowed to adopt under Alabama’s own laws. V.L. argued that Alabama should recognize her parental rights and should give full faith and credit to the Georgia adoption.

The Decision

The Supreme Court agreed with V.L. and held that her rights should be recognized in Alabama even though the adoption was done in Georgia.

The main principle the court relied on is the “Full Faith and Credit Act” of the Constitution. Full faith and credit means that in many areas of the law, the rights and legal statuses that one state grants must be recognized by other states. For example, if you are married in Illinois, that marriage will be recognized in every other state. E.L. argued that even though Georgia courts approved the adoption, the language of the Georgia adoption statutes does not permit second parent adoptions without the biological parent giving up his or her parental rights.

The court agreed with V.L.’s argument that since a Georgia court of competent jurisdiction granted the adoption, no matter what the statute itself says, full faith and credit means that V.L.’s adoptive rights are intact.

What this Means for Adoption Rights

This decision further strengthens the rights of an adoptive parent in that a valid adoption in one state should be recognized in every other state.

DuPage County Adoption Lawyers

Adoption is a complicated and emotional process. With constant new rulings, it is important that you work with an attorney who is up to date on applicable law. Our skilled DuPage County adoption attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC can help to make sure your rights as an adoptive parent are secure.


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