Michigan Law Firm Gearing up to Help Same-Sex Couples Adopt

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Trailblazing LGBT Family Law lawyers Nessel and Kessel Law are gearing up for the next stage in the the battle for equal rights for same-sex couples and their children.

It's the judicial branch that determines whether there can be an adoption, a judge determines that...

As part of the legal team representing the plaintiffs in the DeBoer vs Snyder case, the landmark case that held Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, lawyers Dana Nessel and Chris D. Kessel are uniquely positioned to further the battle for legal rights for same-sex couples across Michigan.

According to Michigan state government documentation, although the state attorney general quickly filed a request for a stay pending an appeal, which was granted by an appellate court panel on March 25, 323 marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples in four Michigan counties in this brief window.

Dana Nessel, senior partner at Nessel and Kessel Law, explains the opportunity this creates for same-sex couples:

“The marriages that were performed for same-sex couples are legal marriage with all the same rights that heterosexual couples enjoy. This has been confirmed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. An official marriage, sanctioned by the state, gives same-sex couples wishing to file for joint adoption a legal standing they have not enjoyed up to this point.”

At least one county in Michigan has taken notice of this change and is lending a hand in the fight for LGBT adoption rights. After conferring with state lawyers to confirm this interpretation of the case law, Lauren Howard, the chief of Oakland County's adoption office, has now decided to assign caseworkers to same-sex couples who've applied to adopt. They will do home evaluations and background checks -- as they do for all couples.

"It's the judicial branch that determines whether there can be an adoption -- a judge determines that," said Howard.

While many LGBT couples are confident that they will have a satisfactory home evaluation, according to Michigan's Eastern Districts, District Court, that alone does not mean that a judge will approve the petition for adoption.

Despite the ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder, there are still judges who will need convincing that a same-sex couple will be able to provide a home suitable for raising children. That’s why the foremost experts in LGBT marriage and adoption case law are gearing up for the fight. Nessel, who has nearly two decades of experience in the Michigan court system, says that it’s important for the LGBT community, and their allies, to keep pushing. "The tide is turning, and with each case we bring forward, our position becomes that much stronger. It's indefensible for gay and lesbian families to be denied these rights and protections and we will continue to fight for those rights until they are granted."

Oakland County reports that five or six recently married gay couples have filed for joint adoption, and they anticipate more in the coming weeks.

The case number is 12-10285, it was out of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

About Nessel and Kessel Law:
Nessel and Kessel Law are Michigan’s top criminal defense and litigation experts. They are experienced in all aspects of family law, including the complex areas of overlap between LGBT rights, divorce and adoption law. Their recent landmark rulings have gained them nationwide recognition for furthering equal rights for LGBT families. For more information, visit http://nesselandkessellaw.com/.

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