After a hard day’s work, there’s nothing more rewarding than returning home to your family and enjoying the evening today. Whether it’s with your children or just you and your partner, no one should ever claim your family is any less important than his or her own.
However, the unfortunate reality for same-sex couples in the United States is that maintaining a family is a tougher job. Even with same-sex marriage legalized, family law can be difficult to navigate in places such as Massachusetts. Whether it’s dealing with laws around child custody or just visiting your partner in the hospital, things are not always straightforward.
Today, let’s take a closer look at some of the common family law issues for same-sex couples.
Same-Sex Marriage – The Benefits
If you and your partner are already married, there are some benefits under the law. Specifically, you’ll find these come into play under estate planning. Couples who have domestic partnerships or have undergone a civil union can often maintain rights equivalent to a married couple. However, estate planning is where things get tricky.
In the case of death, the best way to ensure your partner gets your estate is through marriage. Under the law, legally married couples have a much easier time retaining rights – this can be especially true for same-sex couples.
Legal Issues Around Children
Another area where things can get tricky is with children. First, adopting a child can be a real hassle, even if you are legally married. Even today, many adoption agencies are less accepting of same-sex couples. Many parents who give their children up for adoption still stipulate that they want the child in a “traditional” household.
On the other hand, having a biological child can also get tricky. Even if both names are on the birth certificate, you may find there are legal issues when ensuring both parents have custody of the child. Typically, the way around this is with a co-parent adoption, which can be a confusing process for most people.
Healthcare for Same-Sex Couples
One of the most commonly exposed areas of conflict is within healthcare. If you are legally married, you should be able to share benefits through your workplace, but things can get tricky otherwise. You may also run into family law conflict if you go to visit your partner at the hospital, even if he or she is your spouse. Some hospitals are still strict on only allowing a spouse to visit at times, and with same-sex marriage, they may ask for proof before allowing you in. If you face this type of discrimination, an attorney can help.
Navigating Family Law
Ultimately, navigating family law in Massachusetts can be a complicated matter for anyone. Although progress is being made for the rights of same-sex couples, the truth is, there’s still a long way to go. At Shapiro Law Group, we believe the time for equal rights and fair treatment is long overdue, which is why we diligently work to ensure these legal issues are as easy to navigate as possible.
Whether married or not, if you and your partner are looking for the best protection under family law, you can trust in Shapiro Law Group to help. Make sure to pick up the phone and call us today at 339-298-2300 for a free phone consultation. Your relationship matters, and we’re here to help ensure you can stick together no matter what difficulties come your way.