Love is love. Here at Simonetti & Associates, we are proud to support these unions and offer many legal services in legal consultation and adoption processes to help you get your marriages together started right. In the United States, the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling allowed same-sex couples to finally join each other in the loving bonds of marriage. With the newness of this ruling, however, comes various newly unearthed complications in legal standing. Our Suffolk County divorce lawyers will help you to understand the retroactive and prospective standings of your same-sex relationship in the eyes of the law and some issues that you still might face legally.
Length of Marriage vs Cohabitation
A majority of legal, economic, and divorce proceedings rely on the length of marriage to properly divide assets between all parties. The ban on same-sex marriage was declared “void ab initio”, which means that these bans were never constitutional, to begin with, and have been near physically removed from lawful memory. This means that in a court of law, these bans never technically existed. When dealing with cases of alimony, same-sex divorce, child ownership, or subdivision of property, this can cause the original owner/biological parent to gain almost total rights. If a house was purchased by one party or a child was born prior to marriage, in the eyes of the law, those can belong fully to one parent despite cohabitation due to the absence of marriage safeguards. The courts are constantly in a debate over the proper method to handle these cases. In the meantime, a Suffolk County divorce lawyer is paramount to ensure your rights are protected during any legal proceeding.
Couples may find that their previous decisions on tax-filing may have severe impacts on their economic future. A same-sex couple with a child that filed separately prior to their marriage could see increased taxes as a result of joint filing. Marriage also brings the issue of combined income to the table, where meeting certain thresholds could increase social security benefit taxation. The switch to marriage can be tantalizing for same-sex couples, but we highly recommend that you get your financial affairs in order prior to your wedding date.
Despite being considered equal in the eyes of marriage law, couples still face struggles in adopting a child to join their family. Some states allow for adoption institutions to deny adoption requests on the basis of religious beliefs. This is not present in New York but can be frustrating for same-sex couples attempting to adopt an out-of-state child. Our Suffolk County divorce lawyers at Simonetti & Associates also provide same-sex adoption support to prospective parents.
When additionally dealing with the option of biological parenthood, the non-biological parent then has to endure a gauntlet of their own. There are of course various procedures in place to ensure that donors of any kind (be it gestational hosts or sperm donors) are not to gain parental rights. Both same-sex parents can be listed on the birth certificate should they be married prior to the child’s birth. However, a birth certificate is not proof of parentage. A non-biological parent may have to endure the invasive judicial process of second-parent adoption in order to cement their rights or risk losing their child should their biologically-connected partner eventually file for custody during a divorce. At Simonetti & Associates, we understand that your children are of paramount importance. Our Suffolk County divorce lawyers provide custodial support during divorce proceedings, and will additionally assist you in any adoption proceedings you might wish to go through.