The enactment of the Marriage Equality Act, and the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding marriage equality, has changed the landscape in New York when it comes to the LGBT community and various aspects of family law in the state. A person who lives in the boroughs, or elsewhere in New York, can obtain information about LGBT family law issues through experienced Bronx LGBT family law lawyers.
LGBT Couples and Marriage Licenses in New York
Beginning in 2011, the process for obtaining marriages licenses in New York was the same for straight and LGBT couples seeking to wed. A couple desiring to wed needs to appear in person at the office of a town or city clerk. In the Bronx, a marriage license for an LGBT couple can be obtained at:
851 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10451
Both individuals desiring to wed must appear together to obtain a license. There is a fee to obtain a marriage license. The fee can be paid with cash, money order, or credit card.
The license is issued immediately. However, in New York, there is a 24-hour waiting period before the wedding ceremony can take place. The waiting period can be waived by a justice of the Supreme Court or a judge of the County Court. This sometimes occurs when a couple is being wed “at the courthouse” following the issuance of a marriage license.
LGBT Couples and Divorce in New York
Prior to the enactment of the Marriage Equality Act in New York, same-sex couples could end their relationships with relative ease in many circumstances. Nonetheless, if jointly owned property or children were involved, ending a same-sex relationship before the Marriage Equality Act presented its own set of challenges.
With the establishment of same-sex marriage in New York, an LGBT couple that has wed must now follow the procedures governing divorce set forth in Empire State law. Divorce law establishes parameters regarding issues pertaining to assets, debts, and children when an LGBT married couple parts, which is an improvement over the status quo that existed before 2011. However, the law also makes it impossible for a couple who has wed to merely part company without taking formal legal action, even when they have no joint assets or children.
LGBT Couples, Divorce, and Child Custody
There exists no “special law” when it comes to child custody determinations in a divorce case involving same-sex spouses. Rather, the best interests of the child standard is utilized in making custody decisions in all New York Divorce cases.
The best interests of the child standard necessitates a consideration of a number of factors in making child custody decisions, according to Cornell University Law School. These include a consideration of which spouse traditionally was the primary caretaker of a child, the residential situation of each spouse, and the overall physical, mental, and emotional health of the parties.
Assets, Debts, and Divorce
New York utilizes what is known as the equitable division of property standard when it comes to all divorce cases in the state. The equitable division standard mandates that the assets and debts of a marriage are divided between the divorcing spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable according to the prevailing circumstances in the case.
Retain a Bronx LGBT Family Law Lawyer
A party to a same-sex marriage who desires to divorce needs to seek out the advice and assistance of an experienced Bronx family law lawyer. The reality is that not all family law attorneys practicing in New York have the background and experience necessary to represent a member of the LGBT community in need to marriage termination services. Although the law is the same no matter who seeks a divorce, there are unique considerations to bear in mind when it comes to an LGBT couple seeking to end a marriage.
The first step in retaining a qualified Bronx LGBT family law lawyer is scheduling an initial consultation. During an initial consultation, a person in need of a divorce can ascertain whether or not an attorney has the background necessary to work for a member of the LGBT community in need of a divorce.
During an initial consultation, an attorney provides an overall evaluation of a divorce case. The evaluation includes a consideration of how various issues potentially can be resolved in a particular case. As a matter of practice, a Bronx LGBT family law lawyer charges no fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client.