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A tremendous amount has changed in New York and across the United States when it comes to the rights of members of the LGBT community. Most significantly, the LGBT community has won the ubiquitous right to marry from sea to sea in the United States.
With the dawn of the right of members of the LGBT community to marry, the subfield of family law is developing for individuals in same-sex marital relationships. When seeking qualified NYC LGBT family law attorneys, there are some factors that you need to bear in mind.
Experience in Working with LGBT Issues
Although an attorney representing LGBT clients does not necessarily need to be a member of the community, he or she does need to have specific experience in representing LGBT clients. The reality is that a growing number of lawyers in New York City do have increasing experiencing in providing legal services to individuals in same sex marriages or relationships that face family law issues.
A LGBT family law attorney will schedule an initial consultation to discuss a case or legal matter with a prospective client. Through this type of appointment, a member of the LGBT community can ascertain how responsive an family law lawyer is to the needs of a member of the LGBT community seeking legal assistance on a domestic law-related matter.
There are an increasing number of professional enrichment programs for attorneys desiring to provide family law representation to the LGBT community. In addition, there are now some specialized organizations for attorneys who wish to provide legal services to members of the LGBT community.
Child Custody and a Divorcing LGBT Couple
The same standard utilized in opposite sex-divorces is utilized in same-sex marriage dissolution matters when child custody is an issue. A determination regarding child custody in a same-sex divorce is made through the application of the best interests of the child standard.
In theory, the court does not approach a same-sex divorce case with any preconceived ideas about determining the custodial placement of a child. Rather, the court uses a set of factors, and applies them to the specific circumstances of a case.
Examples of factors taken into consideration when making custody-related decision in a divorce case involving a same sex couple include an examination of which parent traditionally has been the primary caretaker of the child. Other factors include the overall physical, mental, and emotional health of all of the parties.
Inherent Discrimination Potentially Remains
Despite the significant progress that has been made in regard to the acceptance of the LGBT community over the course of the past decade, some inherent discrimination remains. This sad, but actual, reality underscores the need to engage an attorney with experience in working with the LGBT community.
Although the playing field is to be level for a member of the LGBT community in the U.S. judicial system, some inherent discrimination can remain. An attorney with a background in working with the LGBT community is sensitive to this reality.
Issues Surrounding LGBT Marriage
One area that remains fraught with challenges, particularly in some locations in the United States, is the ability for a same-sex couple to wed in the first instance. The media continues to report instances in the United States in which members of the LGBT community are being thwarted in their efforts to marry.
This represents another area in the overall family law arena in which an LGBT family law lawyer can provide vital legal assistance. Such an attorney can truly fight for the needs when it comes to an LGBT couple attempting to assert constitutional rights to marry in the United States.
Retain an NYC LGBT Family Law Attorney
The first step in retaining an NYC family law lawyer is to schedule an initial consultation. As a general rule, a family law lawyer does not charge a fee for an initial consultation.
During an initial consultation, a person seeking representation from a family law attorney with experience in working with the LGBT community is able to assess a lawyer. In addition, an attorney will provide an overall, preliminary evaluation of a case. A potential client in need of family law representation also has the opportunity to put forth specific questions for an attorney.