LANSING – On Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered the Michigan Court of Appeals to reconsider its findings in a custody dispute between an upper peninsula couple – Jennifer Stankevich and Leann Milliron.
The couple married in 2007 in Canada. Sometime before their marriage, Milliron gave birth to a child, conceived by artificial insemination. The two cared for the child together, until they split up in 2009. The couple agreed to share visitation with the child, but could not come to a common agreement as to what that schedule looked like.
Stankevich filed an action in Dickinson County Circuit Court for custody and visitation rights. That court dismissed the claims because Michigan did not recognize same-sex marriages. She appealed that ruling.
In October of 2013, the Appeals Court upheld a decision by Dickinson County to throw out a lawsuit for custody of a minor child born to the couple. Stankevich appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which rather than rule, put their consideration in abeyance until the appeals process played out with the DeBoer case.
Friday, the Supreme Court revisited that appeal. Rather than take the case up, the court vacated the October 2013 decision of the Court of Appeals, and remanded the case back to the court for reconsideration taking into account the Obergefell decision released in June by the U.S. Supreme Court. Obergefell was the decision which made marriage equality the rule of the land.