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:

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.

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.