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Family-related legal issues present a variety of challenges. From getting married to getting divorced and from adopting to seeking changes to gender markers on birth certificates, all types of family law issues require experienced legal representation. If you have questions or need help, we encourage you to speak with a New Jersey LGBTQ family lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.
Our family lawyers represent LGBTQ individuals and couples in all family-related legal matters at all stages of life. We can help you understand your legal rights and options, and we can help you make informed decisions with your long-term best interests in mind. We have significant experience representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning/queer individuals and couples (married and unmarried), and we can help you with questions such as:
Same-sex couples have had the ability to enter into civil unions in New Jersey since 2007, and they have had the right to marry in New Jersey since 2013. The legal issues that need to be addressed when ending civil unions and same-sex marriages are primarily the same under New Jersey law. However, the same rights and benefits are not available to unmarried same-sex partners under federal law.
If you are seeking to end your same-sex civil union or marriage, it will be important for you to work with an experienced New Jersey same-sex divorce lawyer. An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through the process and help you carefully address all pertinent issues—including:
Even if you and your spouse or partner agree that it is time for your civil union or marriage to come to an end, it will still be necessary for each of you to have your own attorney. You will each need independent legal advice, and you will want to ensure that you are taking appropriate steps to set yourself up for the future.
In New Jersey, when a spouse or partner in a civil union gives birth to a child, the other spouse or partner is presumed to be the child’s other parent. This is true even if this spouse or partner does not have a biological relationship with the child. But, in all other scenarios, same-sex couples must formally establish parentage through legal means.
In many cases, this means adopting. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P) is prohibited from discriminating against prospective parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning/queer, and many of the private adoption agencies in New Jersey choose to treat LGBTQ individuals and couples equally. Our New Jersey LGBTQ adoption attorney can help you evaluate your options, and we can guide you through the process of adopting through your preferred means.
What about custody as an alternative to adoption? If you are marrying (or currently married to) your same-sex partner who has a child, you don’t necessarily need to adopt. Stepparent rights arise automatically through marriage. However, adopting may still be the best or preferred option in some circumstances; and, if you have questions, we are more than happy to help you make an informed decision.
For unmarried LGBTQ parents, going through a separation means addressing child custody and child support. Under New Jersey law, all parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children, and all parents are presumed to have equal rights to child custody. In most cases, parents’ child support obligations are calculated according to a set of statutory guidelines, while all child custody determinations must reflect the best interests of the children involved.
New Jersey has adopted a set of “best interests factors” that guide all child custody determinations—both within and outside of the confines of marriage. If you are preparing to go through a separation, our New Jersey LGBTQ family attorney can help you work toward establishing a parenting plan that meets your needs while also serving the best interests of your children.
In New Jersey, anyone over the age of 18 can change their name for any reason. If you wish to take your spouse’s last name, if you and your spouse or partner wish to blend your names, if you want to change your name as part of your transition, there is a fairly straightforward process for doing so—and our lawyers can guide you through this process.
If you wish to change your gender marker on your New Jersey birth certificate, our lawyers can assist you with this as well. While New Jersey law previously required evidence of gender reassignment surgery, this requirement was eliminated in 2018. As a result, it is now possible for individuals to change their gender markers through self-attestation alone. Parents can apply for changes to their children’s gender markers as well.
Regardless of your needs, if you have questions and would like to speak with a New Jersey LGBTQ family attorney, we encourage you to get in touch. To schedule a confidential consultation at your convenience, please call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online today.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.