Same-sex couples raising children must stand ready to prove to the world they are a family, just one that happens to have two mothers or two fathers. This constant burden of proof is especially difficult for families … who live in a state that doesn’t allow them to establish legal ties to each other.
“Marriage” is one word that presents practical problems when it comes to same-sex couples, let alone the words “family” or “children.”
Take, for example, the legal complications surrounding same-sex unions as recently explored in The New York Times. The article, titled “A Family With Two Moms, Except in the Eyes of the Law,” found that many same-sex couples do start families and do bear children. As a result, very careful estate planning is essential, especially given current state and federal laws.
For any couple with minor children, fundamental estate planning focuses on providing backup parents (i.e., guardians) to raise them and trustworthy stewards to protect their inheritance. When it comes to same-sex couples, making such provisions for minor children likely means navigating a dicey web of laws that may (or may not) tilt in their favor.
To make matters even more complicated, a simple relocation from one state to another may upset your comprehensive estate planning and require a top-to-bottom review of your existing estate plans.
In the end, not only must you fully define your own legal structure, but you must also do so well in advance and make changes as they inevitably occur in the law and in your life.
Reference: The New York Times (July 20, 2012) “A Family With Two Moms, Except in the Eyes of the Law”