NEW YORK, NY – August 1, 2017 – According to Eric Wrubel, Chair of the LGBTQ Matrimonial and Family Law Practice at Warshaw Burstein, LLP in New York, “Despite all the recent advances in LGBTQ matrimonial rights, a lot is still in flux and our clients have a variety of important questions and concerns.”
In addition, issues related to adoption, surrogacy and civil unions make LGBTQ family matters even more complex. The team of attorneys at Warshaw Burstein provides expert guidance in LGBTQ family law, while their new website www.lgbtqfamilylaw.net addresses some of the most frequently asked questions.
One major concern is whether a non-biological, non-adoptive parent can legally seek visitation or custody of the couple’s children if they split up. As Wrubel explains, “There are a number of legal theories available to utilize in order for an individual to assert that he/she has standing to file a claim to custody of and access to a child he/she has raised.”
Wrubel was lead appellate counsel in the groundbreaking New York Court of Appeals 2016 Brooke S.B. v. Elizabeth A.C.C. case that broadened the historical definition of parent so that courts may now consider factors beyond just biology and legal adoption. Other states across the country have made similar rulings.
Another question that is often asked is whether same-sex couples can enter into a prenuptial agreement. “They can, and in fact we encourage it,” says Warshaw Burstein matrimonial attorney Linda Sklaren. “With the laws for the LGBTQ community still evolving, an agreement between parties addressing issues related to divorce, spousal support and assets is often viewed favorably by the Court.” The one area in which parties to marriage may not enter into pre-planned arrangements, however, is the custody and support of any future children they intend to have.
In many states, LGBTQ individuals were legally prevented from marrying a person of the same sex until recently, but their relationships may have begun years before. Many people want to know if the court will take the length of their pre-marital relationship into consideration when dividing assets and awarding support. “Legal arguments have recently developed asserting that a court could add the time period before the legal wedding to the length of the marriage,” says Wrubel. “This could have a major impact on financial decisions.”
“From surrogate parent agreements to transgender rights, the laws surrounding LGBTQ matrimonial and family issues are changing and growing as our society continues to evolve,” adds Sklaren. It’s important to understand what can and can’t be done legally, to ensure that all parties involved are treated fairly.”
Warshaw Burstein is a mid-sized, full-service law firm based in New York City, concentrating in the following practice areas: banking and finance, construction, corporate and securities, creditors’ defense litigation and compliance, entertainment and media, exempt organizations, financial services, intellectual property, litigation, matrimonial and family law, real estate, tax, and trusts and estates.
The firm has comprehensive experience representing a wide range of international, national and local businesses of all sizes, as well as governmental authorities and many prominent families and individuals, in an extensive array of litigation and transactional matters.
For more information regarding Warshaw Burstein and family and matrimonial law visit www.wbny.com or www.lgbtqfamilylaw.net
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