Two generations ago you might have said a husband, a wife, and a couple of (biological) children.
Today’s families, however, may consist of same-sex or opposite-sex couples, single parents, multiple parents, either by choice or divorce, cisgender and/or transgender couples, or unmarried couples. Families may be created through adoption, a blending of families from more than one marriage or relationship, through assisted reproductive technology (or “ART”), or through a surrogacy arrangement. Grandparents or other relatives may replace parents as sole guardians of young children.
Regardless of the make-up of your alternative family, the desire to protect one’s loved ones is basic to human nature. Unfortunately, domestic relations law and laws that protect families do not recognize or protect the rights of an unmarried couple and may not protect children of LGBTQ families, even if the children were born to a married couple.
In order to protect their family of choice, a non-traditional family must take affirmative steps to establish themselves in the eyes of the law. We have developed a special expertise in advising and assisting this ever-growing population.
For LGBTQ families, it is critical to protect your legal relationships with your children through adoption, as the law continues to be unsettled with respect to whether our right to be a parent through marriage will be honored in all instances. For more information here is a link to an informative document published by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR):
Here are some ways we can help:
- Domestic Partnership Agreements and Prenuptial Agreements
- Legal issues regarding marriage for same-sex couples
- Estate planning
- Parenting issues
- Unmarried “Domestic” partnership dissolutions
We believe that the best time to discuss potentially difficult or explosive issues in a loving manner is before any hard-feelings develop. By addressing the difficult issues you will create shared understandings that are fair to both parties. A trained mediator, Carol L. Buell can meet with you to discuss and develop a contract in a non adversarial setting which can then be taken to separate “review” counsel for final review and approval.
The decision to marry or not marry is a difficult one for any couple. With same-sex couples who formed a loving partnership long before marriage was a right, this decision is particularly difficult and may be fraught with painful feelings of loss, anger and anxiety. For some, the decision to marry is a consequence of outside factors, such as employers phasing out domestic partnership benefits and requiring employees to marry in order to maintain health insurance. For others, marriage seems unnecessary or even irrelevant to the wellbeing of their longstanding relationship, but there are pragmatic reasons to obtain the benefits of marriage, such as favorable tax treatment. We believe a legal consultation with us, in which you can “work through” the emotional and legal issues with a neutral mediator, and discuss the pragmatic reasons to marry or not marry, can help.
To ensure that your loved ones are protected
Such as second parent adoption, alternative insemination, known donor agreements and co-parenting agreements, family parenting agreements for multiple parents.
Including custody and support issues for children of the life partnership, and property settlements using mediation and collaborative law approaches.
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.