Difficulties Same-Sex Couples Often Face While Planning for their Families
Legal marriage equality may have been a big step in a just direction, but we still have a long way from achieving real legal equality for same-sex couples in all family matters. Like any other couple, same-sex couples often want to marry, start a family and live a normal life like their friends and family members.
Sadly, some legal problems due to the system just trying to catch up as well as personal prejudices can interfere with the way LGBT persons live and raise families. An experienced family law attorney in OKC can help you overcome these problems tactfully. Get an idea on the possible difficulties to arm yourself with the solutions.
Cohabitation: If you don’t want to get married, you may consider living together and get to know the legal differences. Perhaps you and your partner will even want to draw up a cohabitation agreement, which can be considered a binding legal contract, similar to legal marriage as it was understood prior to marriage licensing.
Marriage: Ready to commit and take the plunge? Your prenuptial agreement is one of the things you should consider immediately. Be careful, however, what you accept: in general, a child support and custody scheme cannot include provisions, or which spouse performs which tasks.
Surrogacy: Surrogacy for many gay couples is another popular option. Again, there are many legal factors to be taken into account, just like adoption. Since biological same sex couples need a surrogate mother or sperm donor to have children, there are certain complications about the parentage of their children that need to be settled ideally before the children are born.
Child Custody: One spouse can decide to give birth to a child in your relationship to make you a parent. In such a situation, full parental rights are automatically granted to the biological parent of the child. However, even if their name is on the birth certificate, the non-biological parent may not be granted parental rights. If the non-biological parent wants full parental rights, he or she may need to undergo a co-parent adoption process.
Adoption: Adoption is one of the routes that same-sex couples can take when their family is ready for a new member. However, not every adoption agency is gay couples friendly. Since social acceptance of same sex couples is fairly young, understandably, agencies want to be sure they place children in good homes. It's important not to take this personally. Same sex couples may need to be extra diligent in proving they can be a good home.
Healthcare: In a medical emergency, circumstances might occur where only the spouse is allowed to go with their partner or make decisions. When a same sex partner is asked to establish such a connection, he or she may find it difficult to immediately prove marriage or partnership to healthcare workers and nurses.
Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is, unfortunately, one of the most frequent crimes among couples and families. Make sure you know it when it happens, don't make excuses, and keep yourself protected when you are a victim. Every type of family or couple has some who have domestic violence. If you are in a same sex relationship but dealing with violence from your partner, get help, and don't consider it a condemnation of all same sex couples.
Divorce: Not all marriages last forever, unfortunately. If you are going through such a difficult situation, a family law attorney in OKC can help you out. Heterosexual marriages can fail, and for the same reasons sometimes same sex marriages can fail as well. Again, there's no need to stay in a bad same sex marriage to make oneself a martyr for the cause.
Estate Planning: Same-sex partners may face problems protecting one partner without an adequately defined estate plan after the death of the other. Estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, child care, and power of attorney are required to protect those you love in case worst should occur.
Tax: Same-sex spouses have the option to file jointly for federal tax purposes, as the federal definition of marriage no longer restricts them. Tax Day might look far away, but now it may be wise for you and your spouse to consult an experienced tax consultant or lawyer.
Contact our highly experienced family law attorneys in OKC at the Mazaheri Law Firm if you are in a same-sex relationship, and have questions concerning your rights, planning your family, or correcting a perceived injustice.
** Disclaimer: This blog content is no substitute for legal advice and in no way implies a lawyer-client relationship.