Schmidt & Long, LGBT Family Lawyer, Lisa J. Schmidt, Ferndale, Michigan
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has opened the doors for gay and lesbian couples to legally marry and start families in Michigan. But that has left a lot of gray areas around LGBT families and their rights. If you have found yourself in the middle of an LGBT family issue, you want a lawyer who is on top of the changes and can help you plan for the future.
So called “Gay Divorce” functions legally the same as any other divorce. But even though the law is the same, many family courts still aren’t sure what to do when two men or two women walk into their courtroom. You need an LGBT family lawyer who can help judges and referees understand and interpret the gray areas of the law in a way that protects LGBT rights. LGBT family lawyer Lisa J. Schmidt was the first to complete a same-sex divorce in Oakland County, just one month after the Obergefell decision.
LGBT Custody & Equitable Parentage
Becoming parents as a gay or lesbian couple is a very intentional and often expensive decision. Couples make the happy decision to bear and raise a child together as a family. But in most cases, the child that is conceived is only biologically related to one parent (or none in adoption cases). When these families fall apart, it can leave the non-biological parent without a clear avenue to custody and visitation rights.
Michigan courts have recognized same-sex spouses as presumed parents of children born during the marriage, and have sometimes allowed equitable parent arguments in cases where the child was born prior to the marriage. But the laws used to get there are old, out-dated, and sometimes hard to understand. Attorney Lisa J. Schmidt knows all the latest developments in LGBT parentage law. She will help you fight for your rights as an intended parent of your child. As an ACLU cooperating attorney and board member, she continues to fight for changes in the law that will secure gay and lesbian parents’ rights when their children don’t share the same genes.
Known Donor Agreements
While many lesbian couples use unknown sperm donor banks to conceive their children, others prefer to use a known donor, like a friend or a brother. But under Michigan law, when the identity of the father is known it can sometimes interfere with an intended parent’s rights and obligations. In other cases, a known donor can sometimes be held responsible for a child that was never intended to be his. If you are considering using a known sperm donor, Attorney Lisa J. Schmidt can provide you with a contract that lays out everyone’s intentions, rights, and obligations. That way, there can be no question – between the parties or in court – about who are the intended parents of a child born into an LGBT relationship.
Direct Placement & Second-Parent Adoption
For many gay couples, the route to parentage goes through adoption. You don’t always need a lawyer to get an adoption – sometimes the agencies take care of all the paperwork for you. But agency adoptions can also be expensive. If you have found a parent willing to give a child up for a direct adoption, you and your spouse can save money by hiring a lawyer to prepare the paperwork for you. By filing a joint petition, both spouses can be declared the legal parents of the child, ensuring that your family ties will last, no matter what happens.
In other cases, one parent brings children into an LGBT family. When that happens, the non-biological parent can get legal rights to care for his or her children through a second-parent adoption. This process can also be used to ensure the parental rights of both parents when the child was born before the marriage, or before the marriage was legally recognized in Michigan. Adoption attorney Lisa J. Schmidt can help you understand if a second-parent adoption is right for you, and walk you through the process.
Get LGBT Family Law Help from Schmidt & Long
LGBT couples face special challenges in family court. If you are headed in front of a judge, make sure you have an attorney who knows what the state of the law is. Contact Schmidt & Long, PLLC, in Ferndale, Michigan to schedule a free consultation with family lawyer Lisa J. Schmidt. She’ll help you fight for your parental rights in a changing legal landscape.