Same Sex Family Law & Matrimonial Matters

On June 24, 2011 the New York State Legislature passed the Marriage Equality Act. The act, which allows marriage by same sex couples went into effect 30 days later on July 24, 2011.

New York has joined Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and the District of Columbia is recognizing and permitting same sex marriages.

Under the Act, State rights, protections, and obligations had by heterosexual spouses are now also experienced by same sex spouses. More accurately, rights, protections, and obligations are also experienced by same sex spouses …so long as they remain in New York or another state that recognizes same sex marriages. This last point is fraught with many complexities, both legal and practical.

Many lawyers are advising their LGBTQ clients, to call their lawyer before they call their mother to break the news of a pending marriage. While this may sound like a joke, marriage is not joke, and the complexities that may arise in a same sex marriage are equally serious, if not more so, than the issues that arise in heterosexual marriages.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with a qualified New York City divorce attorney with experience in same sex matters.

Same Sex Divorce

Fortunately, many issues can be resolved preemptively, before they arise, through the strategic use of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. A qualified attorney will be able to assist in preparing a pre or postnuptial agreement for a same sex married couple or a same sex married couple contemplating marriage.

If you are in a same sex marriage and, and are contemplating a divorce, we invite you to consider The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC for the following reasons:

(1) At the Firm we have represented many clients in same sex divorces – we understand the distinctions between same sex and traditional divorces – we have found that there are key distinctions in same sex divorces.

(2) We understand the custody implications that may arise in same sex divorces particularly when only one parent is the biological parent.

Below are a few issues, which you should discuss with a qualified attorney:

  1. Portability of marital rights and protections to other states and countries.
  2. Adoption of children of the marriage by the non-biological same sex parent.
  3. Recognition by the federal government.
  4. Tax implications.
  5. Long-term care options.
  6. Estate planning and ancillary probate issues from other states intersecting with probate in New York (probating a will upon the death of one of the parties).

The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC is able to assist you in addressing many of these issues. The Firm also works with professionals in the areas of tax law and long-term care insurance to assist clients with long care decisions and estate planning.

Contact us today online or by telephone at 212-792-9501 to arrange a free initial consultation with a qualified New York City divorce attorney with experience in same sex matters.

Same Sex Custody

The New York State Court of Appeals “Redefines” Parenthood Giving Options to Same-Sex Parents.
“…the fundamental nature of [parental] rights mandates caution in expanding the definition of [parent]…”

The New York State Court of Appeals, our highest court in New York, has made landmark decisions in the world of family law in Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C., 91, and Matter of Estrellita A. v. Jennifer D., 92, 2016 NY Slip Op 05903.
Essentially, this means the “intended second parent”, who

(1) Does not share genetics with the children
(2) Has not adopted the children
(3) Is not married to the other parent
(4) Will have substantially more rights under the newly established case law by the Court of Appeals.

This is wonderful news as the number of same-sex families in New York continue to grow and many of the children within those families are related to only one partner by birth or adoption. (See Gary J. Gates & Abigail M. Cooke, The Williams Institute, New York Census Snapshot: 2010 at 1-3).
Prior outdated law from 1991 created a rule that in an unmarried couple, a partner without a biological or adoptive relation to a child is not that child’s “parent” for purposes of seeking custody or visitation, even though they’ve established a parental-like relationship with the child. (See Matter of Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C., quoting Matter of Alison D. v. Virginia M., 77 NY2d 651 [1991]).

Today, the “intended second parent” may prove two things to prove their standing to seek visitation and custody:
(1) The parties agreed to conceive a child
(2) The parties agreed to raise the child together
The Court has not created a brightline rule as to how determine standing, leaving the door open for other creative legal arguments to allow non-biological and non-adoptive same-sex parents access to custody and visitation of their children.

Two (2) things to remember in custody disputes:
(1) The best interests of the child or children
(2) Consult to an attorney who is familiar with this brand new decision about your options

Contact an experienced attorney: The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC

If you are looking for a family law attorney for your same sex matter, we encourage you to contact  The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates today, to schedule your complimentary initial consultation.