The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned a ruling by a court in Alabama, which was preventing a woman from being legally recognised as a co-parent of three children that she had with her partner.
Named only as 'E.L.' and 'V.L.' in the case, the two women had previously been in a long term relationship, although they never married. E.L. gave birth to three children between 2002 and 2004. Although the couple were based in Alabama, they established temporary residency in Georgia to gain adoption rights for V.L. who then legally became co-parent to the children.
After the couple split up, E.L. attempted to prevent V.L. from receiving any custody or visiting rights over the children. In September, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the state of Georgia had mistakenly granted V.L. joint custody, with E.L's lawyers agreeing that, "the Georgia court had no authority under Georgia law to award such an adoption, which is therefore void and not entitled to full faith and credit."
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned this ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court, effectively stating that V.L. should be recognised as a legal parent to the children.
In what was effectively a row between whether one state should uphold the laws of another state, the Supreme Court Justices wrote
that "the Alabama Supreme Court erred in refusing to grant that judgment full faith and credit."
The case is complicated, but this Supreme Court intervention effectively sets an important national precedent for any similar such cases involving interstate adoption.
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