lgbt

The law relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and couples is complicated and rapidly evolving. Because new laws, regulations, rules, legal decisions, administrative opinions, and governmental action, both on the state and federal levels, are being issued at a rapid pace, members of the LGBT community require sophisticated, knowledgeable, creative, and committed legal representation. Attorneys for LGBT individuals and couples must have a thorough understanding of domestic issues, assisted reproductive technology, employment law, taxation, estate planning, real estate, and many other areas of the law. At Wolf, Baldwin and Associates, P.C. we have a long history of serving the LGBT community and are focused on remaining a leader in LGBT representation in the Tri-County area and throughout Pennsylvania.

Despite the landmark decision in Whitewood v. Wolf which legalized same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, LGBT individuals and couples still frequently require sophisticated representation in domestic issues, particularly with family formation. As individuals and couples rely on various methods of assisted reproductive technology, including donor insemination, in vitro fertilization, gestational carrier or gestational surrogacy, gestational mother/genetic mother, and traditional surrogacy, they must be able to address and comply with a broad range of legal and procedural requirements, which vary greatly depending on the method utilized. For example, if a couple chooses to use a sperm donor, then they may require a sperm donor contract, an order from the court directing the Pennsylvania Department of Health as to who to list as the parent or parents on the child's birth certificate, and then a second parent adoption. At Wolf, Baldwin and Associates, P.C., we take great pride in being able to assist individuals and families from all walks of life with family formation.

The grant of same-sex marriages in Whitewood also grants couples the protections of Pennsylvania's Divorce Code in the event of a separation or divorce. Same-sex married couples will enjoy the protection of marital property, equitable distribution, and family court divorce procedures. Refer to our materials on Equitable Distribution and Support for more information.

We recognize, however, that not all same-sex couples are ready to marry and, if needed, we are also able to assist with the dissolution of any non-marital relationship. Because unmarried couples are not protected by equitable distribution, the division of property may be complicated if the parties did not have a cohabitation agreement and did not properly title or deed property during the relationship. Dissolution of an unmarried same-sex couples' relationship may also present complex custody and support issues that will need to be acted on promptly, especially if the parties did not perform a second parent adoption and one parent must rely solely on an in loco parentis status to gain custody of the children. The custody lawyers of Wolf, Baldwin and Associates, P.C. are prepared to defend our clients' rights and advocate for the best interest of their children.

Additionally, it remains true that unmarried LGBT couples need to be extra diligent and conscientious in their estate planning. Despite couples often sharing years of love and interdependence, in the eyes of the law, if unmarried, then each partner is a legal stranger to the other. The LGBT estate planning attorneys of Wolf, Baldwin and Associates, P.C. can assist same-sex couples with navigating the legal maze of property, intestacy, and taxation laws in order to best achieve the wishes of the couple and to ensure that the surviving partner is properly provided for upon the other's passing. We can also assist in ensuring that each partner has the ability to make end-of-life decisions for the other and manage his or her finances in the unfortunate event of incapacity.

As this broad area of the law continues to develop post-Whitewood, as a law firm, we are committed to adapting and responding effectively. If you have questions regarding LGBT rights under Pennsylvania state or federal law, or if you require legal representation, we encourage you to contact our office and we look forward to assisting you.