Same Sex Relationships
In 2011, New York passed a law called the Marriage Equality Act, granting same-sex couples the right to marry. With any marriage, there are legal issues that should be discussed. It is important to speak with a family law attorney who has experience with the LGBT community and the specific family law issues that apply. An experienced family law attorney can help same-sex couples ensure that the life they have built together prior to their legal marriage is protected from legal consequences that may arise from a separation, divorce, and/or death.
On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court Justices struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the landmark case, U.S. vs. Windsor. In a 5-4 decision, with the majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court held Section 3 of DOMA, which defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
While the Supreme Court Justices addressed certain key issues in U.S. v. Windsor, the ruling has raised more questions than it answered. It is important that same-sex couples consult with an experienced professional to understand how best to protect their interests whether or not they decide to marry.
Some key areas affected by the Windsor decision include: estate planning and taxes; immigration; Social Security and Medicaid; Military benefits; and employee benefits, including health care and Pensions.
Gay and Lesbian couples need to understand how their rights are affected by state-to-state travel, relocation and state of marriage/state of residence issues.
Deborah Wayne provides advice and counsel on same-sex and domestic partnership issues involving:
- Custody, Visitation & Adoption
- Child support
- Spousal Maintenance
- Domestic Partnership Agreements
- Marriage, Separation and Divorce
- Family planning/Pre and Postnuptial Agreements
- Estate planning