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We believe that “family” extends beyond the traditional nuclear family of Mom and Dad to include other loving, mutually supporting family members.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities (LGBTQ) and other non-traditional families include grandparents raising grandchildren, an unmarried couple living together, friends living together and sharing finances long term, couples choosing not to marry, same-sex couples and polyamorous families.
All of these families deserve the ability to form stable legally binding ties and deserve to have their rights represented in court when necessary
The 2015 landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v Hodges ruled that same-sex couples can marry nationwide establishing a new civil right. Same-sex couples do not have to worry whether a particular State will recognize their union. If you are a legally wed same-sex couple, your New York marriage is valid in each of the 50 states and all U.S. territories.
Marriage Equality has come to New York and the entire United States. So has the ability to divorce. In New York, divorces involving same-sex couples are treated the same a traditional divorce in the eyes of the law. Both a same-sex couple and heterosexual couple file for divorce the same way and follow the same steps to obtain an uncontested or contested divorce.
While the problems faced by Traditional and Non-Traditional divorcing or separated families are for the most part the same. the fact remains that child custody laws, in particular, for parents, nonparents, stepparents, grandparents and same-sex parents are complex, but typically favor biological parents. In the case of same-sex parents, current laws recognize only one parent as having rights or a legal obligation to pay child support. Generally, only a child’s parents have a right to sue for custody. If a spouse in a same-sex marriage is not the biological parent of a child, that spouse should take legal steps to adopt the child to establish parental rights. For example, a child born to a lesbian couple through artificial insemination is the natural child of the birth mother. The birth mother’s spouse should adopt the child if she wants legal rights to custody and visitation in the event of the couple dissolving their marriage.
These are some of the areas where you may expect the advice of a knowledgeable non-traditional family law attorney to be invaluable:
In some cases, individuals who are not the biological parents of a child may seek custody, particularly if they were in a relationship with the birth parent and the relationship has ended.
If one or both parents can’t care for the children because they are unfit in some way or deceased, we can help you seek custody as a grandparent.
Stepparents who have played a major role in raising children may wish to seek full or partial custody in the case of a divorce.
These kinds of cases can be complex and difficult to resolve, especially when it seems as if state and federal laws are constantly changing. We are available to provide counsel and advocacy in emerging areas of family law where our good sense and creative thinking serves our clients well.
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