New York State passed the Marriage Equality Act in July, 2011 and as of 2016, marriages between same sex couples are recognized by the federal government and by every state in the country. However, foreign countries*, lag behind the United States in recognizing marriages between same sex couples which further complicates our clients’ lives and their relationships with their children when traveling, visiting, or residing in other countries.

We urge all couples contemplating marriage to consult their attorneys for advice and explanation of the legal effects of taking that step. But same sex couples considering marriage require even more specific and well informed counsel, and are strongly advised to enter into prenuptial agreements, estate planning documents, and complete a second parent or step parent adoption of your children, even if you planned and created your children together to ensure your rights as a parent are recognized as you travel and/or live abroad.

*As of 16 November 2015, fourteen countries (Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay) and certain sub-jurisdictions (parts of Denmark, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States allow same-sex couples to marry. A similar law in Finland is not yet in force. Polls show rising support for legally recognizing same-sex marriage in the Americas, Australia and most of Europe. However, as of 2015 South Africa is the only African country where same-sex marriage is recognized, and although no country in Asia has officially recognized same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled that Israel accepts same-sex marriages performed overseas.

Navigating the very dynamic area of marriage for same-sex couples

For same-sex couples, making the decision to marry or not marry is a complicated one. Whether you are newly in love or have weathered many years of “non-marital” bliss, you need a knowledgeable attorney who is expert in this dynamic area to counsel you about whether marrying your same sex partner is advisable in your particular situation.

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact Carol L. Buell Law & Mediation, PLLC by phone at 212-967-5710 or by using our contact form.