Baltimore & Towson Lawyer DIscusses Same-Sex Prenuptial Agreements
The laws with respect to same-sex marriages in Maryland have changed in recent years; however, there are still certain aspects of family law that differ between heterosexual and same-sex couples. That said, your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer suggests same-sex couples consider such differences prior to marriage. For instance, there are numerous differences in eligibility requirements and definitions related to child custody issues, employment benefits and grounds for divorce. Accordingly, same-sex couples are encouraged to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement, particularly since the laws are in a constant state of flux.
Child Custody Issues
Despite the fact that a prenuptial agreement may expressly note the distribution of property and other assets, it more than likely will not address child custody issues. It is crucial, however, for same-sex couples to think about how they will handle becoming parents to an adopted child or a child born because the state does not recognize a “de facto” parent status. What that means to the couple is that even though one spouse might have cared for a child since adoption or birth, he or she would not be recognized as a legal parent unless that parent legally adopted the child or they are related by blood.
Simply put, each spouse would be required to adopt the child in order to be recognized as a custodial parent. One spouse giving birth to a child or adopting a child will not suffice. Maryland allows for adoption by same-sex parents.
What About Employment Benefits?
Many prenuptial agreements include provisions with respect to the percentage or amount of employment benefits to which a spouse may be entitled in the event of a divorce. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held same-sex couples who were married in states where it is legal to do so are required to receive the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive. However, the ruling only applies to states in which same-sex marriages are legal.
That means, unless you plan on living in Maryland or another state where same-sex marriage is legal, you may lose your eligibility for state and federal benefits. However, if a same-sex couple needs to move for work or some other reason to a state in which same-sex marriages are not legal, they might want to consider including some provisions in the prenuptial agreement that clearly address the issue.
While it is true that Maryland has legalized same-sex marriage and second-parent adoptions for same-sex couples, not all legal definitions have caught up with the changing times. For instance, when a heterosexual couple divorces because of adultery, that generally means that one party had voluntary sexual intercourse with someone other than his or her spouse.
However, “sexual intercourse,” under the law, is still defined as “contact of the sexual organs of a man and woman and an actual penetration into the body of the latter.” Based on this definition, same-sex relations may not fall within the definition since the penetration factor is not present in such relationships.
Same-sex couples who would like to learn more about their options and rights under the law are encouraged to contact the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC as soon as possible.
Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation With an Overlea & Towson Family Law Lawyer.
Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.