Prior to a landmark decision on May 20, 2014, Pennsylvania was the last remaining state in the Northeast to recognize same-sex marriages and wedding rights for same sex couples. Despite this change in same sex family law, you may be unsure about your rights if you and your partner are splitting up or if you are fighting for your parental rights.
The same sex family law attorneys of Bentley, Kopecki, Smith, P.C., welcome individuals who are leaving a same-sex relationship, thinking about getting married or seeking to enter a prenuptial-type contract with their gay or lesbian partner. Our lawyers offer advice and representation whether your disputes fall under the jurisdiction of family court or civil court.
Property And Custody Issues In Same-Sex Relationships
Pennsylvania law now sanctions same-sex unions and may acknowledge same-sex marriages from other states. For years, same-sex partners acquired property together, raised children together and lived as spouses in countless ways, and gay and lesbian couples have always dealt with many of the same conflicts as any married couple, including all the complexities of “divorce.” The difference is that same-sex partners have not had the same protections or legal recourse, at least under state law, until very recently.
Our attorneys can help you address such issues as:
- Dividing intertwined finances and property
- Custody and visitation disputes
- Child support obligations
- Financial support of a former partner
- “Second adoption” of a partner’s biological child
- Inheritance rights to a partner’s estate or benefits
- Property settlement agreements
- Recognition of an out-of-state marriage
- Other issues unique to same-sex couples
Until very recently, the divorce laws applied only to heterosexual marriage. Same-sex partners may now be entitled to an equitable distribution of jointly accumulated wealth.
In some cases, negotiation may be the most appropriate forum to divide property and debts. However, if this is not practical, our experienced trial lawyers can represent you in contested proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas to protect your parental rights and property rights.
Our attorneys can also draft or review written agreements between same-sex partners or spouses that designate separate property and give direction for splitting financial and property considerations in the event of a breakup.
Explore Your Rights And Remedies Under Same Sex Family Law
As attorneys for same-sex couples, we are committed to protecting your interests in negotiations or in court. Call 610-685-8000, or email us to arrange a free initial consultation.