Ex parte E.L.Annotate this Case
The Alabama Supreme Court granted review of this case filed by E.L. seeking review of a Court of Civil Appeals decision to affirm a family court order insofar as that judgment recognized and gave effect to an adoption decree entered by the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia approving the adoption by V.L., E.L.'s former same-sex partner, of E.L.'s biological children, S.L., N.L., and H.L. E.L. and V.L. were involved in a relationship from approximately 1995 through 2011. During the course of that relationship, they maintained a residence in Hoover. In December 2002 E.L. gave birth to S.L., and in November 2004 E.L. gave birth to twins, N.L. and H.L. All births were achieved through the use of assisted-reproductive technology. The parties eventually made the joint decision to take legal action to formalize and to protect the parental role V.L. had undertaken. In 2007, V.L. filed a petition with the Georgia court to adopt the children. The Georgia granted the petition, and subsequently new birth certificates were issued. In approximately November 2011, E.L. and V.L. ended their relationship, and, in January 2012, V.L. moved out of the house E.L. and V.L. had previously shared. 2013, V.L. filed a petition in the Jefferson Circuit Court alleging that E.L. had denied her access to the children and had interfered with her ability to exercise her traditional and constitutional parental rights. She asked the Alabama court to register the Georgia judgment, to declare her legal rights pursuant to the Georgia judgment, and to award her some measure of custody of or visitation with the children. The matter was transferred to the Jefferson Family Court, and E.L. moved that court to dismiss V.L.'s petition on multiple grounds. The Jefferson Family Court ultimately denied E.L.'s motion to dismiss, without a hearing, and simultaneously awarded V.L. scheduled visitation with the children. E.L. filed her notice of appeal to the Court of Civil Appeals. After reviewing the record and analyzing the relevant law of both Alabama and Georgia, the Supreme Court concluded that the Court of Civil Appeals and the Jefferson Family Court erred in giving full faith and credit to the Georgia judgment because the Georgia court was without subject-matter jurisdiction to issue the Georgia judgment. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Civil Appeals was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.
- V.L. v. E.L., No. 15-648 (U.S. Mar. 07, 2016)