Boulder Same-Sex Marriage Attorney
The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry in all 50 states. Although the fight for equal recognition under the law is over, this ruling also means same-sex couples can face similar family law matters as opposite-sex couples, including divorce.
However, there are still areas of law that have not progressed as quickly and require unique representation from an attorney who is well-versed in Colorado LGBT law. At Dolan + Zimmerman, LLP, we understand the challenges that same-sex couples face and will help you achieve an ideal outcome in your legal dispute. Contact our Boulder same-sex marriage attorney today to schedule a free consultation.
Why Choose Us
- We are very selective in the cases we handle so our Boulder family law attorneys can personally devote time and resources to each and every client.
- We tailor our legal advice and services to your specific situation and needs.
- You can put your trust in us to help you keep your family law matters private and confidential.
Why You Need a Boulder Same-Sex Marriage Lawyer
It is essential to hire a same-sex marriage attorney if you face any legal issues related to same-sex marriage, divorce, or civil unions. An experienced same-sex marriage lawyer in Boulder who is knowledgeable of the state’s ever-evolving laws on same-sex marriage will be able to advise you on how they impact your particular situation. In addition to marriage, same-sex couples and individuals may have to navigate many issues related to family law cases. For instance, in foreign adoption cases, some countries may not allow same-sex couples to adopt. Another common situation is a same-sex couple or individual feeling discriminated against by a legal representative or a court.
Colorado Civil Unions
Before same-sex marriage became legal, Colorado passed a bill that took effect on May 1, 2013, allowing civil unions between two unmarried people “regardless of their gender.” A Colorado civil union entitles the partners to “receive the benefits and protections and be subject to the responsibilities of spouses.”
Civil unions remain legal in Colorado, including those that pre-existed legal gay marriage. However, evolving legal issues need to be resolved, such as the legal steps for a couple to transition from a civil union to a marriage or for someone in a civil union to marry someone else.
In addition, some same-sex couples in certain counties were issued marriage licenses before the supreme court’s decision became final. The legal status of those licenses may be in question.
Common Family Law Matters Same-Sex Couples Face
Some of the more common family law issues for same-sex couples include:
Adopting a Child
Sadly, same-sex couples who wish to adopt have fewer options than couples of the opposite sex. Many U.S. adoption agencies discriminate against same-sex couples. Based on religious views and those of the biological mother giving up a child, numerous adoption agencies reserve the right to refuse children to gay couples.
Custody of Biological Children
Some same-sex couples choose to become parents by one spouse having a child. The biological parent is automatically granted full parental rights, but the non-biological parent may have no legal standing to custody in the absence of formal adoption. This can also apply if one of the spouses had the child before the couple was married.
In these situations, it is always advisable for same-sex couples to further protect their relationships to the child by obtaining a legal parent status. Significant factors to consider are if the biological parent were to die or you and your same-sex spouse divorce or separate, the non-biological parent may not be granted custody of the child or visitation rights.
If a Colorado court does grant a non-biological parent’s rights without adoption, not all states may honor those rights in the same manner. If, for example, your child is injured while on vacation in another state, you might not have access to your child in the hospital without having a legal parent status. A legal adoption, however, is recognized and honored in every state.
Legally married couples, same-sex or not, have an easier time retaining their rights after the death of a spouse. Same-sex couples, especially if they are not legally married, should create an estate plan. Estate planning documents are necessary to protect the ones you love in case the worst should happen. It is the best way to ensure your wishes, such as asset distribution and guardianship of minor children.
Same-sex partners sometimes face discrimination by hospital staff and nurses in medical emergencies when asked to establish their relationship to a patient. It can be very beneficial in these situations to be legally authorized as your spouse or partner’s medical and/or financial power of attorney.
Divorce Process for Same-Sex Couples in Colorado
The divorce process is the same in Colorado, whether you are part of an opposite or same-sex couple. Couples who wish to dissolve civil unions or marriages must have:
- Entered into the agreement lawfully at the time;
- At least one spouse has lived in Colorado for at least 90 days.
These conditions can be an issue for same-sex couples who committed to marriage before it was legal in Colorado and never legally married. These couples may need to refer to the state’s laws regarding common law separation.
Each divorce case is unique, so the state allows multiple types of divorce proceedings. Those include:
- Uncontested Divorce: spouses choose to cooperate and agree on most aspects of the divorce.
- Mediated Divorce: a neutral third party called a mediator meets with both parties to discuss and resolve your issues, with the hope of avoiding going to court.
- Collaborative Divorce: both partners have their own attorneys and agree to work together in a respectful way to find a win/win situation for all participants.
- Litigated Divorce: spouses cannot agree on some or all of the issues, and involves going through hearings and trial to resolve their case.
Speak to a Boulder Same-Sex Marriage Lawyer
For any legal questions surrounding same-sex marriage, contact Dolan + Zimmerman, LLP. Our team of Boulder same-sex marriage attorneys understands the newness of same-sex marriage laws and how they can impact the court’s view of your case. We can protect you from unfair discrimination or legal inaccuracies. Reach us online or call 303-593-1874 to schedule a free consultation today.