SAME-SEX FAMILY LAW
Same-Sex Family Law Issues in New York
The matrimonial laws — and how they apply to same-sex couples — are continually changing. In 2011, same-sex marriage became legal in New York. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. In the future, we may see further changes to laws across the United States, which can have an effect on couples who move or travel to other states.
Representing Gay and Lesbian Families
For this reason, whether you are facing a divorce or other type of family law matter, it is important that you work with a lawyer who stays up-to-date on changes to family law at the state and federal level. At Jacobowitz and Gubits, LLP, our attorneys are knowledgeable in the issues same-sex couples face when getting a divorce, adopting a child or when in a family dispute. We have the experience and the resources to help you with any family-related legal problem.
For advice about your legal issues and representation at any stage in your case, contact our office online or call us at 845-764-9656 (toll free at 866-303-9595).
Issues Facing Same-Sex Couples in Divorce
As same-sex marriage is legal in New York, same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights and privileges as heterosexual married couples. This includes the right to marry as well as the right to divorce. This means that when a same-sex couple is facing a divorce, they will have many of the same questions:
- How do we divide the assets and debts we acquired during our marriage?
- Who will get custody of the children?
- Will I get alimony?
- Who will pay child support?
In particular, the division of property proved difficult when DOMA was in effect. Under DOMA, same-sex couples were not given the same rights as heterosexual couples where federal laws applied. For example, if one spouse had a military pension, his or her ex-spouse would not have been entitled to a share of that pension during a divorce.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that parts of DOMA are unconstitutional, same-sex couples who are legally married should be entitled to the same privileges under federal law as couples of the opposite sex. However, the laws could change further in the near future. If you are considering a divorce in New York, speak with an attorney at our office for knowledgeable advice about the current state of the law.
Same-Sex Marriage in Other States
Not all states have embraced same-sex marriage. If you or your spouse moves to another state, your New York marriage may not be recognized. Whether you are moving or traveling, it is important to understand the laws of each state so you can prepare for any issues that may arise. For example, if one spouse falls ill or is in an accident in another state, the other spouse may not have the right to make medical decisions on his or her behalf. To avoid this issue, you may wish to work with an attorney with experience creating estate planning documents for same-sex couples.
Contact Us About Divorce, Child Custody and Support Disputes in Same-Sex Families
We have the resources of a large firm, but we are dedicated to providing our clients with the small firm experience. Turn to Jacobowitz and Gubits, LLP, for the advice and support you need during a same-sex divorce, adoption or any other family-related matter.