Despite the legalization of marriage in all fifty states, lgbt families still face unique challenges when it comes to demanding fair application of the law. The New York bar is dedicated to giving attorneys the tools to advocate on behalf of lgbt clients and their families in New York courts. At Spodek Law Group, we’re equally committed to helping you advocate for your rights to the full extent of the law.
Divorce and custody
New York passed the Marriage Equality Act in New York in 2011. Then, in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex marriages in all fifty states. In many ways, divorce and custody matters in lgbt cases are often the same issues that all families face in the event of a divorce. That means determining custody, a parenting schedule and visitation. It means dividing assets and real property and determining whether spousal support is appropriate in the case.
The court must make determinations about child support in every divorce case involving minor children. Although it might seem like a simple math complication, a child support determination can be anything but simple. The court might have to investigate a parent’s real income especially in cases where a parent is self-employed or they have the help of an employer to try and hide their real income. The court may have to make a judgement call about a parent’s true ability to work. Our team of Staten Island lgbt family law attorneys can help you gather the evidence to present your case to the judge in the best possible light.
In some cases, parents might worry about their legal status when it comes to their children. They might have used a surrogate to have a child and worry about the child’s legal relationship to both parents. Parents can add legal protections to their rights by formally adopting the child in addition to the marriage relationship. That way, the child is a legal child of both parents by way of adoption as well as by marriage. In the event of a divorce, both parents have parental rights and an obligation to support the child financially.
One option that you may have available to you during a divorce or other family law matter is mediation. This is a voluntary process that allows you to work with a trained mediator in order to develop a resolution that you both agree to in order to resolve the case. No one has to enter into an agreement during mediation. Rather, it’s an opportunity for the parties to discuss their differences in a way that might resolve the case without a court imposing a judgment.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements
In any marriage, you may want to consider creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. This is basically a contract for people who are about to get married or who are already married. The contract spells out what happens financially if the marriage dissolves.
A prenuptial agreement can help you define separate property that one person brings into a marriage. It can determine who keeps the marital home. It can divide assets and either limit or guarantee spousal support.
The one thing that a prenuptial agreement can’t do is determine child custody. Children have a right to have a court act in their best interests. This isn’t something that parents can make an agreement about in advance. In addition, parents have an obligation to support their children financially, and this isn’t something that the parties can waive away.
Family law issues don’t happen in a vacuum. Our Staten Island gay lbgt family law lawyers want to make sure that you plan for your family in the best way possible. That means you may need to prepare a power of attorney that reinforces your partner’s ability to act on your behalf including making medical decisions in the event that you’re incapacitated. You can also work with us to create a will that names a guardian for your children if it should become necessary. We know that no two cases are alike. We want to get to know you and help you make the best possible plan to give you peace of mind for your growing family.
How we can help
Lgbt laws are constantly changing. As we continue to make progress, our team of enthusiastic attorneys can help you understand the current state of New York law and how it applies to you. You may have multiple ways to meet your goals, and we can help you determine the best plan for your case. We offer compassionate and aggressive legal services that help you take full advantage of your options under the law. We want you to have the confidence to know that you’re making the best decisions as your case moves through the courts. If you’re facing an lgbt family law issue in Staten Island, please contact us today.