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Same Sex Couples Family Law

On June 26, 2015 the United States Supreme Court handed down their decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. _____ (2015) finding that state constitutional amendments denying and prohibiting the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and the recognition of same-sex marriages were unconstitutional. Based on that decision every state across the country must now issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples and must recognize and extend benefits to all married couples, regardless of the gender of the parties.

The landscape of legal rights for gay and lesbian couples and same-sex families is rapidly changing. Contact our office today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and the best way to protect yourself and your families.

Gay and Lesbian Couples


Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements

The long history leading up to the countrywide recognition of same-sex marriages has resulted in couples who, despite being in long term relationships, may have been unable to marry or have waited to get married until it was allowed in their home state. This can often times result in couples sharing their lives and co-mingling their finances for a significant time prior to their marriage. Under the current laws in Kentucky the only assets and debts subject to division during a divorce proceeding are marital assets. Kentucky defines marital assets as "those which are acquired during the marriage." If a couple has been together for a significant time prior to legally marrying they should speak with an attorney about the assets that they would like to consider joint and/or designate as non-marital. This can be done either before entering into a marriage or at any time after the parties are married. Contact an attorney familiar with issues relating to gay and lesbian couples to discuss your case today.

Gay and Lesbian Parents


Parental Rights and Adoption

Now that Kentucky and Indiana recognize same-sex marriages gay and lesbian parents can both have equal rights in relation to their children. Gay and lesbian couples can now adopt children in a joint petition for adoption and have equal rights extended at the same time. When one of the parties to the marriage is the biological parent of the minor child, the non-biological parent can now file a second parent adoption petition and be named as an equal parent under the law. Once both parties have become legal parents a new birth certificate can be issued. Same-sex couples should always consult with an attorney to ensure that they know their rights and have taken all necessary steps to protect them.

For more information on parental rights look at our blog post on this topic, click this link

Divorce

Prior to the Supreme Court decision, gay and lesbian couples who were married in other states were unable file for divorce in Kentucky. This generally left the parties with two options, the first, to live apart and not take legal action to dissolve their relationship or relocate to a state that would allow access to the Courts to seek a divorce. Now, same-sex couples have the same access to courts for the adjudication of their divorce and child related issues. While the laws governing divorce are the same, regardless of the gender of the parties, same-sex couples who are seeking a divorce can still face specific and unique issues and should consult with a lawyer who is familiar with how their sexual orientation and the recent recognition of their marriage may impact their divorce.



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