NYC Gay & LGBT Family Law Lawyers
Though many people feel that we have come a long way in reference to how those in the LGBT community are treated, there is still quite a long road ahead. This is perhaps most apparent when it comes to the rights of these individuals.
On June 26, 2015 the Supreme Court declared same sex marriages legal in all 50 states; however, that law did not encompass everything that normally goes along with marriage. This means that even though the law allows them to marry it does not mean that the actual process will go as smoothly as it might for a heterosexual couple. For example, they may have a tougher time finding someone to bake their cake, find a venue or even someone to officiate the ceremony. If you feel you have been wrongfully discriminated against give us a call so that we may go over it with you and decide the best course of action.
Adoption for those in the LGBT community is often times a very frustrating process that may end in not being able to adopt a child. Most states do not have actual laws that prohibit same sex couples from adopting. That being said, the final decision on placements usually ends up in the hands of welfare employees or judges. If the agency or individual that decides on placement has negative views on this topic it may well make the adoption process very difficult or maybe even impossible.
If you feel that you are being discriminated against during an adoption process first make sure that there really is discrimination and not something that is just perceived. In other words, you should first voice your concerns to the individual that you are dealing with; perhaps they are not returning your calls immediately because they are inundated with work at this time or it was just a simple misunderstanding. If that does not clear things up then feel free to speak with their supervisor or the head of the agency to see if they can help with the situation. If you have exhausted all of these avenues then you may want to contact an attorney and make an appointment to discuss the situation.
As difficult as the marriage process can be for the LGBT community the process of getting divorced may be even harder. In a heterosexual marriage when a couple decides to divorce a judge will determine the custody rights including child support and visitation. However, it becomes more difficult for gay couples especially if only one of them is the adoptive parent.
Some states do not recognize “de facto” parents, which means a parent that fulfills a child’s psychological and physical needs through affection and care on a daily basis and who has been in that role for a substantial period of time. So, unless the couple planned the baby together, usually through artificial insemination for example, it is possible that either parent could simply walk away and there would be no grounds for child support or visitation.
One way to avoid this is through a process called “second parent adoption” or even “stepparent adoption” which entitles the parent to adopt their partner’s child, thus giving them certain rights regardless of their marital status. Even though same sex marriage has been made legal many feel that this adoption process adds another layer of protection for the non-biological parent.
The ever changing laws surrounding family law and the LGBT community are difficult enough to keep up without trying to interpret them on your own. Call us today for a consultation and get the guidance that you need.