Ever since the Marriage Equality Act became law in 2011, we have frequently recommended that same-sex couples consult an attorney before marrying and having children. A case recently decided in Nassau County points to yet another reason to do so, and to some inequities in the law that same-sex couples still face.
The NY Times recently published an article that outlined the plight of a same-sex partner, Jann Paczkowski, who found out after she separated from her legally married spouse, that she “did not have legal standing to seek access to the boy — because even under the Marriage Equality Act, she was not his parent.” The couple was not married at the time of the child’s birth.
The article stated “In his decision, Judge Edmund M. Dane acknowledged ‘inequity’ and ‘imbalance’ in the law, adding that if Ms. Paczkowski were a man in the same position, the law might point toward a different ruling. But in the end, he left Jann with no contact with the boy.”
The Times interviewed Weiss Buell & Bell Partner Carol Buell, who offered some sage advice: “I always like to say to my clients, they have to think 1950s. The only way your family will be protected is if you think like the 1950s: Make an honest woman of your partner, marry her before you have children. I sound like a very conservative person every time I give advice. But there’s a whole category of children who are now illegitimate.”
Read the entire article here.
If you are a same-sex couple considering having children, please don’t make assumptions about your rights under the Marriage Equality Act. Instead, seek expert legal advice to insure that you’re protecting yourself and your family appropriately.