Long Island Same-Sex Marriage Lawyer
Same-sex marriage was legalized in New York in 2011 with the passage of the state’s Marriage Equality Act. Later, in 2015, the United States Supreme Court held that the fundamental right to marry encompassed same-sex couples, guaranteeing constitutional protection to same-sex marriage nationwide. That case was decided on a 5-4 ruling, however, and the Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 signals a willingness to overturn established precedent, and the same reasoning used by the Court could apply to abolishing constitutional protection to same-sex marriage. Should that ever happen, the right to marriage equality remains protected in New York State, but these are uncertain times, and it’s important to have strong and effective legal representation to protect your rights and interests in any family law matter. The Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan has been committed to helping clients succeed in Nassau and Commack for well over a decade, and our firm’s commitment to serving the LGBT community in all family law matters remains as strong as ever. For help with marriage, divorce, custody, domestic partnership or other issues, call our experienced Long Island same-sex marriage lawyer for a no-cost, confidential consultation.
Help With Navigating Family Law Issues for Same-Sex Couples
The Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan is knowledgeable and experienced in the unique issues presented to same-sex couples in New York family law, including matters dealing with:
- Child Custody
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Currently, marriage and divorce are the same for opposite-sex and same-sex couples in New York. Divorcing same-sex couples must meet the same residency requirements, meet the same grounds for divorce, and follow the same procedure. They must also deal with the same issues all couples must decide when divorcing, including the division of marital property and the payment of alimony (maintenance), as well as child custody and child support, if applicable. Same-sex couples, however, can face additional legal obstacles in these areas.
Take child custody as one example. If only one of the spouses is the child’s biological parent, this can raise the question of whether that parent should have superior custodial rights. This is not necessarily the case, however, and biological parents are not necessarily favored when it comes to child custody decisions. All legal decisions affecting children are made with the child’s best interests in mind, and courts will look at the emotional and supportive relationship that exists between both parents and the children when deciding issues related to custody and visitation. Even so, a non-biological parent might wish to legally and formally adopt their children to more firmly establish their legal rights to custody. Adoption in this instance might require the termination of parental rights in the non-custodial biological parent, however, raising delicate and complicated legal questions requiring skill and expertise.
Lawyer for Domestic Partnerships on Long Island
Before same-sex marriage was legally recognized and continuing to this day, some couples choose to enter into domestic partnerships rather than marry. A domestic partnership creates a legal relationship for couples who have a close and committed personal relationship. It enables them to access many benefits available to married couples, including access to health insurance and family leave, joining in on housing rental agreements, visitation rights in a hospital or jail, and death benefits for domestic partners of certain city employees killed in the line of duty.
Becoming domestic partners involves meeting the requirements of the particular city or county. Both New York City and Commack, for instance, allow couples to file where at least one partner is an employee of the city or county. Otherwise, both partners must be residents. Other requirements in NYC, for example, include the following:
- Both parties are at least 18 years old
- Neither party is married or too closely related by blood to lawfully marry under the laws of New York State
- The couple are in a close and committed personal relationship, currently living together and have been living together continuously
- Both parties can truthfully state the same residential address on the application form
- Neither party is currently in another domestic partnership nor has been registered in one within the last six months
The process of registering a domestic partnership requires going to the city or county clerk, completing an affidavit, signing an application, and paying the required fee (currently $35 in NYC and $20 in Commack). You’ll then receive a Certificate of Domestic Partnership. The clerk can also perform a ceremony for an additional fee if desired.
Contact the Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan
Marital rights are greater than domestic partnership rights, especially when it comes to property division and child custody in the event of divorce or dissolution of the partnership. Marriage terminates an existing domestic partnership, so couples can easily transition from domestic partnership to marriage if they so choose. A dedicated family law attorney at the Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan can advise you accordingly and represent you regarding any legal concerns you have. Contact our experienced Long Island same-sex marriage lawyer today.