Matrimonial and Family Law

Seymour J. Reisman Partner

Same-Sex Marriage/Relationships

As same-sex marriage laws are changing throughout the country, it is important you’re your legal rights are protected.  With the recently enacted Marriage Equality Act, New York joined several states in recognizing and/or legalizing same-sex marriages.  Some states, while not recognizing same sex marriages, do provide some state level rights to couples by permitting civil unions or domestic partnerships, while other states do not recognize a relationship between same sex partners at all.  Moreover, at present, Federal statutes provide that no state is required to treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, and specifically defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.

This conflicting web of Federal and State rights and responsibilities impacts numerous issues for same sex partners, including:

  • Entitlement to file joint tax returns
  • Take spousal deductions on income tax returns
  • Exempt property inherited from spouses on estate tax returns
  • Receiving tax exemptions when transferring interest in property
  • Rights to health insurance and pension benefits
  • Rights relating to emergency medical care and hospital visitation
  • Protections upon the death of a spouse, such as inheritance rights
  • Rights regarding burial, autopsies and disposition of remains
  • Right to bring wrongful death and other kinds of claims that depend on spousal status
  • Rights to receive worker’s compensation benefits, if a spouse dies in the workplace
  • Liabilities for the other party’s debts
  • Limitations on the disposition of property or inheritance upon death
  • Child custody and obligations for child support, as well as support for the other party.

Our Family Law attorneys will aggressively represent you and your interests, to insure that your rights are protected, while navigating this ever changing area of the law.