Federal law has given same-sex couples the same rights that heterosexual couples have always had – the right to marry, enter into premarital agreements, adopt children, have children through use of surrogates, and name each other as beneficiaries on retirement plans.

    With these rights, however, come a myriad of potential problems. At Feldman & Schneiderman, we can advise you concerning your family law and inheritance rights and liabilities in the event you wish to marry. We can help you prepare premarital (prenuptial) agreements as a means to define your rights and responsibilities after marriage.

    A major potential problem exists in same-sex marriages that does not exist in heterosexual marriages – ensuring both parties have legal rights to custody and timesharing with their children. Same-sex couple may adopt children, but it is essential that adoption paperwork recognize both parties as adopting parents. If a couple adopts a child prior to marriage, the potential complications increase. What about couples who use a surrogate to deliver a child? Does it matter whether either spouse is the birth mother and, if so, how can the rights of the other spouse be protected after divorce? If neither is the birth parent, how can both spouses be protected?

    Premarital agreements, adoption agreements and surrogacy agreements need to be drafted extremely carefully to protect both spouses in a same-sex marriage or else one party could find himself or herself in extensive and expensive litigation.