Compassionate lawyer??? Doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron? How do those 2 words go together? I’m learning about branding. That is my new tag. OK, let’s take a step back. In one of my past lives, when I was young and was trying to figure out how to make a positive impact on the world, I studied world religions in the Masters program at Harvard Divinity School. Although it was an amazing experience in many ways, I couldn’t figure out … read more »
Lawyers Make Things Worse!
“Lawyers make things worse!” I sometimes say to my clients. “They can take people who are this far apart,” I say with my hands about 4 inches away from each other, “and make them this far apart by the time they’re through!” continuing with my hands still facing each other but my arms stretched about 3 feet away. This may seem like blasphemy coming from a lawyer! And I mean no disrespect to my colleagues – but it’s part of … read more »
How History is Written
I just read a beautiful tribute to the late Hon. Judith Kaye (1938-2016), who was the much respected and beloved Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of the State of New York. The tribute was written by Roberta Kaplan, Esq., who represented Edith Windsor in US vs Windsor, the landmark Supreme Court case that, overnight, extended equal rights of gay and lesbian Americans in unprecedented ways. Ms. Kaplan recently remembered Judge Kaye at a dinner for Le-Gal, the LGBT … read more »
Same Sex Married Couples Still Need Second Parent Adoptions
I have written about this before, and it is still true – same sex couples still need second parent adoptions even though they are legally married. New York’s Appellate Division Second Department made this clear their May 2015 decision, Matter of Paczkowski. The case is about a lesbian couple who was married and had a child together during the marriage. The non-biological mom had not adopted their child. The couple later broke up, and she filed for joint custody, arguing … read more »
DOMA and the States
There is no doubt that the Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was historic, and will forever change the lives for millions of same-sex couples and their families. There are over 1,100 federal benefits now available to married same sex couples that were previously only available to married heterosexual couples. But DOMA is not entirely deceased. There were 2 parts to DOMA – the part that remains intact is the part that says that states … read more »
Will the law catch up?
The papers have been rife with stories this week about New York’s new law allowing same-sex marriage. It couldn’t have come at a more poignant time – 2 days before Gay Pride day. People have described the mood there as unadulterated joy – one friend even told me, “I haven’t experienced anything like that since the March on Washington” — meaning the 1963 march in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. It is … read more »
More changing families!
In my last post (this morning), I wrote about 3 articles in today’s Sunday New York Times about interesting family configurations or trends. Well, obviously I hadn’t read the whole paper! A Father’s Day Plea to Sperm Donors is by a young man who would like, on this Father’s Day, to know who his father is; My Ex-Gay Friend explores the life of a young man who was comfortable being out, and then went back in; Living the Good Lie … read more »
There are several articles in today’s NYTimes that reflect a change in today’s families, on this Father’s Day, 2011: A front page article about President Obama’s evolving views of gay marriage. Baby Makes 4, And Complications – A long and very personal portrait of a Park Slope mother, child, sperm donor/father and his partner. How Divorce Lost Its Groove, about the attitudes young people have toward divorce, and how they are trying to make it gentler on their kids — … read more »
Gay couples and immigration
We all know that an immigrant who marries a US Citizen can get Legal Permanent Resident status, commonly known as a green card.– But what if the spouses are the same sex? Same sex marriage is legally recognized in a few states, yet not by the federal government. Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) during the Clinton years specifically stating that they will only recognize marriage between a man and a woman. This puts same-sex married couples in … read more »
Do Children have a Right to Inherit?
I recently got an inquiry from someone who wanted to write a will leaving everything to one of her children, but not the other. They were both under 18. Was this legal? she asked. Her younger child was being raised by his father and step-mother, and they were well off. She hadn’t seen him in years, and had no relationship with him, although she was paying child support, which was taken out of her check bi-weekly. She greatly resented having … read more »