With the legalization of same-sex marriages in the United States, gay and lesbian family law became an important and sometimes confusing part of family law. Much of this confusion centers around same-sex adoptions, which became legal nationwide at the same time that same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015. Another challenging element of gay and lesbian family law is in the area of separation and divorce, including child custody, equitable distribution of assets and other considerations when a same-sex marriage ends legally.
Because it is a relatively new area of the law, gay and lesbian family law may still have some extra paperwork and red tape involved. If you have a family law issue and a same-sex spouse, it is a good idea to reach out to a lawyer with experience and knowledge in this area. Here at the Law Office of Janice V. Coulter, we can help you navigate these new and sometimes challenging proceedings. These include marriages, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, wills, adoptions, surrogacy and divorce. One important thing to note when it comes to gay and lesbian family law issues is that North Carolina will only recognize your same-sex relationship for legal purposes for as long as you have been legally married. Any years you spent as domestic partners is not considered for legal purposes, even though you couldn’t legally marry previously.
If you or your same-sex partner have a child or children that were legally adopted by one parent, you should consider the long-term implications and discuss the possibility of a stepparent adoption. You must wait six months after your marriage to pursue stepparent adoption and if the child is over twelve, he or she must also consent to the adoption.