Experienced Family Law Attorney Assists with LGBTQ Divorce in Pennsylvania
Compassionate and comprehensive representation for same sex couples going through divorce
A federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional in 2014 and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed the following year in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution guaranteed a fundamental right for persons of the same sex to marry. Those rulings placed same sex marriage on an equal footing with traditional marriage. Therefore, judges cannot treat same-sex couples any differently in a court of law when they seek to enforce their marriage rights or dissolve their marriage. At my firm, Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law, I represent gay and lesbian clients in legal actions related to their same-sex marriage. I treat all clients with equal dignity while enforcing their rights under the law.
Dissolution and divorce for LGBTQ marriages in Pennsylvania
Divorce is a difficult process whether your spouse is the same sex or the opposite sex, so it’s essential that you’re represented by a skilled and compassionate advocate. Same-sex married couples who divorce have the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples, but some same-sex couples face unique challenges. For instance, Pennsylvania requires marital property to be distributed equitably. However, if you and your spouse lived together before it was legal for you to marry, a court might not take into consideration your pre-marital circumstances and might not count the property you and your spouse acquired during that time as marital property. I work diligently to persuade the court to treat you fairly in its decisions. In my practice, I draw on more than 15 years of experience as a family lawyer to provide reliable, cost-effective representation. I offer a full range of services, address all of your concerns aggressively during divorce proceedings and work to deliver the best results possible.
Special considerations for child custody in same-sex divorce cases
Because the laws governing parental rights have not caught up with the changes in marriage law, same-sex couples can find themselves in tenuous and difficult child custody situations. In the case of lesbian relationships, one partner may conceive through a sperm donor and be the natural mother of the child. Her partner may believe she has parental rights by virtue of the marital relationship, but unless she has formally adopted the child, the court may refuse to enforce custody rights. Similarly, gay men who have a child with a surrogate must terminate the surrogate’s parental rights, and the partner who is not a biological parent must formally adopt the child. If you have not taken steps to secure your parental rights, you must make a case that being granted visitation or custody is in the best interests of the child. I litigate these custody matters aggressively to obtain the best outcome for both you and your child.
Talk to an experienced Somerset attorney about same-sex divorce
Same-sex couples are entitled to the full benefit of Pennsylvania divorce law. Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law enforces your rights and treats you with the dignity you deserve. Call today at 814-443-1631 or contact me online to schedule a consultation.