Same-Sex Divorce

Family Lawyer for Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce in New York

Attorney serves gay and lesbian divorce clients in Syracuse, NY

New York was one of the earliest states to recognize same-sex marriage. After the New York Court of Appeals held in 2006 that the state constitution did not require recognition of same-sex marriages, the state legislature took up the issue. In 2011, the Marriage Equality Act passed both Assembly and Senate and was signed into law by the governor. New York thus became the sixth state to recognize same-sex marriage. At Bombardo Law Office, P.C. in Syracuse, we offer same-sex couples a full-range of family law services. We represent clients seeking to dissolve same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships.

New York gay and lesbian family law issues

For more than a decade, domestic relations law in New York has treated same-sex couples the same as traditional married couples. This means that spouses in same-sex unions have full marital rights, including the right to sue for divorce either on traditional or no-fault grounds. Same-sex spouses are subject to all legal requirements when pursuing divorce, which means they must settle or litigate all key issues, such as alimony, child custody, child support and equitable distribution of property.

Although there is no difference in parental rights for gay and lesbian parents based on their sexual orientation, complications can arise if one of the spouses is not a legally recognized parent. Same-sex couples can adopt a child and be recognized as the child’s lawful parents. However, if one spouse has a child from a prior relationship and the current partner has not adopted the child, that partner does not have the same legal standing as a birth parent to demand custody or visitation. Courts decide those issues based on the child’s best interests and much depends on the existing relationship between the nonparent spouse and the child.

Federal marriage benefits for same-sex couples

With the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, same-sex marriage became legal throughout the United States. This ruling gave same-sex couples access to a variety of public benefits associated with marriage, including these:

  • Social Security retirement benefits
  • Social Security spousal survivor benefits
  • Social Security lump-sum death benefits
  • Military and veteran benefits
  • Federal employee benefits
  • Estate tax portability
  • Joint federal income tax treatment

Divorce can affect your eligibility for certain benefits. For example, military spouses are eligible to share in a spouse’s pension, but only if the marriage lasts for at least 10 years, overlapping with at least 10 years of creditable service. If you divorce hastily, you could jeopardize any share in that pension.

If you have any questions about your legal standing on any family law or divorce issues, I am happy to provide answers based on your specific circumstances. My law office is committed to treating you with the dignity you deserve and working tirelessly towards achieving the results you desire.

Contact an experienced Syracuse attorney for same-sex divorce and family law

Bombardo Law Office, P.C. in Syracuse represents LGBTQ clients in divorce and family law matters. Please call 315-800-4002 or contact me online to schedule a meeting to discuss your legal options.

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