Your wedding day is only a few months off and your fiancé nervously mentions that he would like a prenuptial agreement. You are taken off guard. “But don’t you trust me?” you cry. “It’s not that,” he stammers. “It’s just that, that I will be disowned if I don’t…” Or, “It’s just that I have worked so hard on creating my own business, and I want things to be clear with my business partners…” Or, “It’s just … read more »
Finally, A Better Definition of Family
New York’s highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals, made a long overdue and unquestionably important decision last month—that a de facto parent who is not a biological or adoptive parent has standing to petition for custody and visitation. This comes up in the context of same-sex relationships where one parent is related to the child biologically, where the parents have raised the children together but are not married. The issue is whether, if they break up, the … read more »
Can a child have 3 parents?
We all know that a child can only have 2 biological parents – a man and a woman. But we also know that biology is only a small part of the story. Every child is connected to more adults – as they say, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Many children are actually being raised by more than 2 parents — step parents, grandparents, friends and partners can play an important role in the financial and emotional … 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 »
The Dreaded Pre-nup
Lately, I have had a few clients who have come to me asking for a prenuptial agreement because their parents insisted that they have one. Prenups used to be thought of only for the rich and famous. But they are becoming much more common, and are losing some of their stigma. When should you consider having a pre-nup? Here are some common examples when a pre-nup can be helpful. If: You are part of a family business, and you want … 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 »
Marriage Equality in New York State!
Last night the NYS Senate approved our marriage equality bill, allowing same-sex couples to marry. This is historically significant in several respects: New York is the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. New York is only the 6th state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage. This more than doubles the number of same-sex couples who can marry in their home state. Marriage has numerous benefits to families. The vote was largely the result of advocacy groups working overlooking their … 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 »
What Makes a Good Marriage? II
Last week I started to blog about an article I read recently in the New York Times, “The Happy Marriage is the ‘Me’ Marriage,” by Tara Parker-Pope. She cites researchers who have looked at the question of what makes a marriage. A Dutch researcher, Caryl Rusbult, found that it was the “Michaelangelo effect,” – partners ‘sculpt’ each other to help them each achieve their goals. US professors, Arthur Aron and Gary Lewandowski, Jr. refer to the concept of ‘self-expansion” – … read more »