Even though the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality for gay couples, every state does not have uniform laws regarding other aspects of family law. When a New York resident is facing a same-sex divorce with minor children in the home, there are several matters to take into consideration. Taking proactive steps early may preserve one's parenting rights later.
For many couples, the dream of becoming parents may only be possible through adoption. Adoptive parents come in all forms, including those families comprised of same-sex couples. Though New York has laws in place that protect the rights of these residents to seek adoption, not every state is proactive.
Every 10 years, the federal government conducts an in-depth review of the composition of its current residents. In the past, it did not include any specific questions directed toward gathering more information for same-sex families. However, the upcoming census will have questions that may provide New York and all other states with more detailed information regarding the numbers and needs of same-sex households.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015 that recognized marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples did not address every family law issue. Recently, the Supreme Court in another state has followed similar rulings in New York that have affirmed the parental rights of same-sex residents. The most recent case addressed the questionable rights of anonymous sperm donors.
The decision to adopt is never one that is entered into without much thought and preparation. No matter whether the potential parents are in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship, the end goal is to provide a child in need with a loving and nurturing family. Though New York has its own laws regarding same-sex adoption, there are still agencies that oppose these parents.
The State department has been accused of being slow to respond to the changes in the marriage laws that gave legal recognition to gay and lesbian couples. According to those committed to reforming the immigration laws regarding same-sex families, the federal agency has refused to adapt some of its laws regarding how citizenship is conferred to children born abroad. There are likely many New York residents who have struggled to obtain coveted documents due to outdated regulations.
In January of this year, it was reported in this blog that a woman had petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case of paternity rights for a divorced gay couple. The justices recently announced that they were declining to hear this case, though they did not provide any additional comments as to why it was refused. Though New York has laws regarding paternity rights in matters relating to artificial insemination as well as same-sex marriages, the decision may be seen as a victory for gay and state rights.
Even though the 2015 Supreme Court ruling was a landmark event concerning gay marriage, it has not solved all of the issues that may crop up. When it comes to estate planning, many same-sex couples may mistakenly believe that such planning will be similar what opposite sex couples face. Unfortunately, even though New York has many protections, it may be beneficial to ensure that there are as many documents prepared as possible.
The old adage that nothing lasts forever is true for so many things, including relationships. No matter one's best intentions, every marriage can face difficult times that may cause it to end in divorce, including same-sex marriages. New York couples who are contemplating getting married -- or who already have -- may consider drafting a marital agreement that can offer protection for themselves and their loved ones.
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage was afforded the same protection under the laws as is heterosexual marriage. With that ruling, there has been a host of other issues relating to same-sex marriage that have cropped up in state courts across the country, including here in New York. Now, a woman is petitioning the Supreme Court to wade in on another case concerning paternity rights.