Since Donald Trump won the election and congress is now controlled by Republicans, there is a very real fear in the LGBTQ community that advancements in marriage and family equality will be rolled back, leaving many same-sex couples vulnerable to discrimination and unfair legal actions. To protect yourself against the possible loss of rights you may experience in the coming years, here are two things you should do as soon as possible.
Adopt Your Children
Even with the passing of the marriage equality law, same-sex couples have experienced issues obtaining and retaining parental rights of children born in their relationships. However, many states have passed laws attempting to patch the holes that non-biological parents of children born within same-sex marriages often fell into; namely, non-biological parents often lose rights to the kids if the marriage or relationship dissolves. If the marriage equality act is repealed or gutted, non-biological parents could lose the protection state laws may provide.
To protect your parental rights, you should start the process of formally adopting your non-biological children. The adoption process will forge a legal bond that will survive the repealing of any marriage equality laws and/or the end of your relationship. While you'll enjoy the same legal benefits to your kids as the biological parent, be aware that you'll also have the same legal responsibilities. For example, you may still be ordered to pay child support if you separate from your significant other and he or she obtains custody.
Obtain a Healthcare Power of Attorney
Another area where repeal of marriage equality laws can have a negative impact on same-sex marriages is when it comes to healthcare. If you become too incapacitated to make your own medical decisions, the law typically ranks who has permission to make decisions on your behalf, with family members (by law or blood) at the top. If your marriage is dissolved because the law supporting it was repealed, your spouse may be relegated to a domestic partner status, and people in this category are usually last on the list to be consulted, if they are put on the list at all.
To protect your spouse's rights to carry out your wishes if something happens to you, have a power of attorney drawn up designating him or her as your healthcare proxy. This legal document lets your spouse make medical decisions on your behalf when you become unable to and prevents others from denying your spouse access to you, as can happen when a person doesn't have legal or familial ties to a patient.
For more information about things you can do to protect yourself and your family during a Trump administration, contact a family law attorney like Craig H. Lane, PC.