Gay and Lesbian Family Law
Same-sex couples have very unique legal hurdles, which, in addition to me being one of this community, is why I’ve chosen to make championing the rights of the gay and lesbian community a focus of our practice.
Recognition of Marriage
Until June 26, 2015, same-sex couples could not get married in every state in the United States. Even if they did get married in a state that allowed marriage their marriage may not have been recognized by their home state. Couples in these situations had to draft multiple documents to try to provide for equal protection that married couples have such as inheritance, medical power of attorney, step-parent adoptions, and many other documents. Still, none of these documents could provide a same-sex couple with full equal protection that provided federal benefits such as taxes and social security. None of these documents guaranteed health insurance to their partner.
Events over the past several years have redefined the way the law looks at families. Just a few decades ago, kinship was the Northern Star in family law cases. Courts practically bent over backward to place children with their biological parents, regardless of the other caring adults in their lives. That logic began to change with 2000’s Troxel v. Granville, which basically stood for the proposition that there is more to an adult-child bond than shared DNA. Since 2010, the increased number of states that recognize marriage equality and the United States v. Windsor decision made this point even more emphatically. Even more importantly was the Obergfell v. Hodges decision on June 26, 2015, that ordered all states to allow same-sex marriages.
These decisions are paving the way for changing how same-sex couples are viewed by the public, the government, and companies. We are going to see more changes coming and as those changes come there will be fewer obstacles to overcome. Until then, same-sex couples are still going to have some hurdles such as parentage and benefits.
At Welsh Law, PLLC, I understand that nothing is more important to you than family. I also understand your need for a low-stress and stable environment to raise your kids. If your family is in transition, contact me today for your consultation. I want to help you take full advantage of recent and ongoing developments in the law.
What I Do
Welsh Law, PLLC, is committed to families in Harris, Brazoria, Montgomery, Fort Bend, and Galveston Counties, as well as other areas in Southeast Texas. I can offer assistance with:
Child Custody Law: Courts are interested in protecting and promoting the best interests of the children. Just like you, they want what is best for your kids, regardless of what a prior legal document may or may not say.
Gay/Lesbian Adoption: The law favors step-parent adoption wherever possible, to promote family stability. As a result of the Obergfell v. Hodges decision, I believe these step-parent adoptions can occur in any county without having to go to remote counties to get these approved.
Gay/Lesbian Family Law: In this evolving area same-sex couples need to speak with an attorney now more than ever to determine what they need to do to ensure equal rights. Is their marriage effective on the date of marriage or on June 26, 2015? Do they have community property from the date of marriage or is it separate property until June 26, 2015? Can they convert property to community property after marriage? Do they need to reevaluate their estate planning documents?