Shortly thereafter, in June , the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act DOMA declaring that same-sex couples who are legally married deserve equal rights to the benefits under federal law that go to all other married couples.
While these developments are landmark wins for the gay rights movement, the changes in law create a new environment. This is why the best lawyer for same-sex couples is one who is skilled and experienced in handling the legal matters of non-traditional families.
Divorce for Gay and Lesbian Couples For same-sex couples, the process of obtaining a Judgment of Divorce or a Child Custody Order can seem uncertain and ambiguous due to the law only recently recognizing their marriage.
While there are similarities between same-sex divorce and heterosexual divorce, it is important to have an attorney who is at the forefront of this issue and is able to recognize the differences. One of the most consistent and important pieces of advice that we give clients who are preparing to marry their same-sex partner is this: Marriage will affect your ownership rights to property and impose life-long obligations on you.
Therefore, we recommend you consult with a same-sex marriage attorney before you get married and consider a prenuptial agreement as well. A premarital or prenuptial agreement will take into consideration the rights, responsibilities, and risks that comes with any marriage, including same-sex marriages.
Some of the issues that are most commonly addressed in prenuptial agreements for our gay and lesbian clients are as follows: The impact of the planned marriage on the children of the parties either existing children or those that may be born in the future. It is important to know what the legal ramifications are of, for example, getting married in Maryland and relocating to Virginia.
Will titling a home jointly by the parties result in one party being required to pay gift taxes? Will transferring a home as part of a future divorce create an unwanted taxable capital gains obligation? Child custody and support obligations, as well as spousal support also known as alimony.
Other economic issues, such as valuation and division of assets, estate planning, and retirement benefits. Custody, Second Parent Adoptions, and Assisted Reproductive Technology in Maryland Not all states allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children jointly. If the same-sex couple then moves to one of the many states or countries that do not acknowledge same-sex marriage, the second parent loses all recognized rights to the child.
When same-sex couples use assisted reproductive technology to have children, a child may have genetic material from one or both parents and the child may have been carried in the womb of one parent or of a surrogate. Please contact our experienced same-sex marriage lawyers in Maryland if you need assistance with or would like to discuss assisted reproductive technology, second parent adoptions, or other legal matters.