THE NEW CONSIDERATIONS FACING SAME SEX COUPLES IN LIGHT OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT DECISION GRANTING GAYS THE RIGHT TO MARRY

The world has now opened up for gay couples. The United States Supreme Court decision now not only provides same sex couples with the right to marry as any heterosexual couple, gay couples now have the benefit of all of the rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples.

The considerations for a same sex couple include possible pre-nuptial agreements, asset determinations and proper estate planning. Other considerations revolve around custody and adoption, especially when one partner already has a child.

Pre-nuptial agreements should always be considered when individuals who accumulated assets independently of their current union wish to protect those assets. This is especially true in many same sex partnerships where assets were not considered as part of the couple’s assets, although obtained during the time the couple may have been together.

WHO NEEDS A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?

Pass separate property to children from prior marriages. A marrying couple with children from prior marriages may use a prenup to spell out what will happen to their property when they die, so that they can pass on separate property to their children and still provide for each other, if necessary. Without a prenup, a surviving spouse might have the right to claim a large portion of the other spouse's property, leaving much less for the kids.
Clarify financial rights. Couples with or without children, wealthy or not, may simply want to clarify their financial rights and responsibilities during marriage.
Avoid arguments in case of divorce. Or they may want to avoid potential arguments if they ever divorce, by specifying in advance how their property will be divided, and whether or not either spouse will receive alimony.
Get protection from debts. Prenups can also be used to protect spouses from each other's debts, and they may address a multitude of other issues as well.

CUSTODY AND ADOPTION CONSIDERATIONS

With the right of gay couples to marry, there is also now the right for gay couples to have custody of children and to adopt children in all 50 states. A Custody Order or Adoption Decree from one state will be recognized in all 50 states.

If one partner has a child from a previous relationship, the new partner, depending upon the circumstances, will have the same right to adopt the child as with a heterosexual step parent adoption. The couple may also adopt children as any heterosexual couple.

If the couple has children and for some reason are no longer together, the criteria to determine custody will be the same as with a heterosexual couple and each partner will have the same rights to custody as a heterosexual couple.

As these areas of the law evolve, it is important for couples to explore all of the new rights and options they may now consider in light of the new gay marriage laws. It is also important for couples to consult with an attorney to ensure that all of their rights and options are explained and protected.

The Law Office of Robin J. Gray offers consultations to same sex couples for a variety of their legal needs. Please contact Robin J. Gray, Esq.at (610) 777-1431 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please visit our website at robinjgraylaw.com.

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