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Important Legal Issues for Same-Sex Couples to Consider

Nov. 6, 2017

Even though the United States has achieved marriage equality, there are still many legal obstacles that same-sex couples may face. Despite increased legal protections and wider acceptance for gay families, family law can still sometimes be particularly challenging for partners in same-sex relationships.

It is therefore particularly important to examine some common family law issues for same-sex couples to take into consideration:

1. Prenuptial agreements

If you feel ready to enter a marriage with a partner of the same sex, consider obtaining a prenuptial agreement. As in heterosexual marriage, a prenup can help protect a spouse’s assets and property.

2. Living together.

An alternative to a civil union or marriage is cohabitation, or living together. Cohabiting with your partner could be a great option if you feel unsure about taking the step of marriage.

3. Taxes

Same-sex couples now have the choice to file their federal taxes jointly. This can significantly affect your assets, so don’t put the decision off until Tax Day.

4. Children

Adoption and surrogacy are two possibilities for same-sex couples who are ready to bring children into their lives. Not all adoption agencies or surrogates are welcoming to gay families, however, so it is wise to consult an attorney who specializes in same-sex family law.

5. Intimate partner violence

A sad truth is that domestic violence can occur within same-sex couples as well as heterosexual ones. An attorney can help protect the rights of someone affected by same-sex intimate partner violence.

6. Hospital visitations

Even though a 2011 federal policy grants same-sex couples the right to visit their partner in the hospital, numerous gay couples have since been denied this right. Take measures to advocate for your right to visit your loved one.

7. Divorce

Now that marriage is available to same-sex couples, so is divorce. A divorce can come with a whole host of complex legal issues including child support, alimony and property division. In a same-sex divorce, an experienced lawyer can help protect your best interests.