Montgomery County Same-Sex Family Law Attorney
LGBTQ Family Law
In recent years, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community has made considerable progress on the issue of marriage equality, resulting in considerable changes to the legal landscape. Attorney Sheryl R. Rentz always stays on top of the newest developments in Pennsylvania family law. Along with her excellent legal staff, she helps clients in unique circumstances get a grasp on the complex family law process. If you are seeking an attorney who has experience working with the LGBTQ community, please call the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz today at (610) 645-0100.
Same-sex couples in Pennsylvania have the same rights and privileges as everyone else, but they may still have questions about their legal rights and options. Your family law issue does not have to result in prolonged and costly litigation. Let us help you resolve your case in an efficient manner so you can move on with your life. We are a highly reputable law firm that values honesty and close communication. As long as you are our client, you will never be left in the dark.
Same-Sex Couple Family Law Issues in Pennsylvania
On May 20, 2014, a U.S. federal district court judge repealed the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, making it legal. This was a huge step forward for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania, especially since civil unions or domestic partnerships had never been recognized by the state. Since then, new issues have arisen regarding the administration of family law in cases involving same-sex couples. The problem is only heterosexual couples were considered when family law statutes and procedures were originally conceived. Until legislators work to incorporate clear-cut guidelines for same-sex couples in family law, these cases will remain very complex affairs that require the involvement of highly skilled and knowledgeable attorneys.
What Are Legal Rights for Same-Sex Couples?
Now that same-sex couples have marriage rights, they have access to much of the same benefits and are subjected to many of the same procedures as straight couples, albeit with some minor but significant differences.
Cohabitation agreements may be made null by marriage, so it is highly recommended that same-sex couples draw up prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, especially if one or both spouses have significant assets or financial obligations. They should also renew their estate plan to reflect their newly acquired marriage status.
As for same-sex parentage proceedings, either one or both parents may establish parentage over a child by adhering to the rules applicable to traditional paternity suits, whether the child is the biological offspring of one of the spouses or has been adopted. Same-sex couples looking to start a family should consult with a lawyer who can help them look into options, such as assisted reproduction and adoption.
Resolving Complex Same-Sex Family Law Issues in Pennsylvania
Since same-sex marriage has only recently been legalized in Pennsylvania, there may not be many attorneys working in the state that have the necessary knowledge to handle family law issues specific to same-sex couples. Fortunately, the legal team at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz has experience in these matters and can help you and your spouse resolve your disputes with efficiency. To learn more about your rights and options, speak with a Montgomery County family law lawyer today. Call (610) 645-0100.
Additional Pennsylvania LGBTQ Family Law FAQs
- How Is Child Custody Decided for LGBTQ Families?
- What Are Grounds for Divorce?
- What Is No-Fault Divorce?
- Can I Change the Terms of Our Custody Agreement or Child Support?
Q: How Is Child Custody Decided for LGBTQ Families?
A: Child custody in Pennsylvania is determined on what is best for the child. The courts tend to rule in favor of the biological parents, but both parents can attempt to seek joint or full custody. If you are not the biological parent of the child, it can help your case if you legally adopted the child. It's advisable for anyone going through a custody negotiation to get a lawyer on their side that will fight for their rights and their family's best interests.
Q: What Are Grounds for Divorce?
A: In a "fault divorce" where one spouse accuses the other of misconduct, the fault grounds in Pennsylvania include:
- Abandonment for at least one year
- Cruelty, including domestic violence
- Imprisonment for two or more years
Q: What Is No-Fault Divorce?
A: You DO NOT need grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania. The court may grant a divorce by mutual consent if 90 days have passed since the divorce has been filed, both adults consent to the divorce, and the marriage is irretrievably broken. When one spouse doesn't give consent to the divorce, the court may still grant the no-fault divorce if the spouses lived apart for two years and the non-consenting adult doesn't deny that the divorce is irretrievably broken.
Q: Can I Change the Terms of Our Custody Agreement or Child Support?
A: The court prefers not making changes to previous court decisions. But, you can change your custody arrangement or child support agreement if your situation has changed. For example, if you fear for the safety of your child, you can take action to protect your child from your ex. If your financial situation has changed drastically, you may be able to change the terms of your alimony or child support payments.
There are many other family law situations that affect some LGBTQ couples in the same way that they affect other couples. You may have questions about whether you can move away with your child, if you are even eligible for divorce, or if your divorce information will be made public. A Pennsylvania family law attorney can answer your questions and help protect your best interests.
- Learn About LGBT Divorce
- Study Shows Children with Gay Parents Denied Equal Protections
- Divorce Poses New Challenges for Same-Sex Couples
- Pennsylvania Child Custody Issues Can Be Complex For Same-Sex Couples