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In New York, same-sex marriage was legalized on July 24, 2011. Prior to that, same-sex couples were not able to legally marry or receive the benefits of marriage. They would be denied from health insurance benefits, inheritance benefits, and social security benefits.

The law has been evolving more rapidly in the past decade or so than it has in a long time. Many changes have been made in an effort to offer LGBT people the same rights and protections offered to everyone else. However, laws can frequently be challenged. LGBT couples face numerous obstacles. In cases regarding family law practice, they need legal representation just as much as heterosexual couples. Issues regarding child custody, divorce, marriage, and other legal familial agreements are all part of the family law sphere.

Whether you need to negotiate a prenuptial agreement, complete an adoption, or file a divorce, it’s helpful to contact an LGBT family lawyer. Ideally, you should look for family law practitioners who already have experience representing LGBT clients. They will have knowledge about the struggles and unique challenges the LGBT community faces.

Since laws have been evolving so rapidly, it might be hard to stay up-to-date on your legal rights and any potential challenges. LGBT law lawyers understand how different LGBT-related laws affect you, and they can explain the legal standing of your unique circumstances. From there, they can also give you a list of your legal options going forward. They’ll also fight to make sure your rights are maintained, which can often be a huge relief for LGBT community members.

LGBT Rights

LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. It’s the umbrella term used to refer to people whose gender or sexuality falls outside the social heteronormative spectrum. In the past, only heterosexual couples have been afforded privileges like marriage.

Not only has marriage historically been denied to LGBT couples, but many states have had specific discrimination laws against LGBT people. An example would be laws that allow a landlord to deny housing to a same-sex couple based only on the fact that they’re the same sex.

2011 was a historic year in New York. The state determined that same-sex couples have the legal right to marry. While this was a huge cause for celebration and a victory for LGBT rights, there were still individual discriminatory practices on the record.

In the past, healthcare providers could deny treatment to LGBT people. Similarly, insurance companies could deny coverage to LGBT people. These practices are no longer legal. LGBT people have special protections in government institutions, the healthcare environment, and their workplaces.

Like heterosexual couples, LGBT couples have the right to adopt, take primary custody of their children, enter prenuptial agreements, receive tax benefits, and receive other benefits of married couples.

What an LGBT Law Lawyer Can Do

There are some unique aspects of same-sex marriages, but for the most part, they’re treated the same as heterosexual marriages. They require the same paperwork, and they have the same legal options. This means that there are a number of areas an LGBT family lawyer can assist you with.

One of the main services an attorney offers is the ability to prepare legal contracts. In any kind of legal negotiation, you want an attorney to make sure the language is legally binding and specific. Similarly, you want to make sure you don’t accidentally leave anything out. An attorney can guide you through the contract process.

Another potential reason to seek an attorney is if you’re beginning a divorce proceeding. Like all married couples, LGBT couples do have a chance of divorcing. Divorces are complicated processes that involve disentangling all of your combined marital assets. In addition, you have to allocate debts, calculate support payments, and come up with child custody arrangements if you have children.

A family law lawyer can help you if you’re adopting a baby or applying to adopt a baby. LGBT couples can sometimes face illegal discrimination from adoption agencies; a lawyer can help make sure your rights are protected. They’ll also help streamline the paperwork process.

If you’re not married, but you do have children, a family law attorney can help you make child custody arrangements. These are a standard part of a divorce, but they can exist on their own if you were never married to begin with. Child custody arrangements will lay out specific terms for which parent has primary custody, when the child stays with each parent, and how a non-custodial parent fulfills their financial obligation.

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