HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF LEGALLY
under a Trump administration as an LGBTQI, poly, or nontraditional family
Trump & Pence have promised an attack on LGBTQI rights. We urge you to read the information below and TAKE STEPS NOW to protect yourself, and ask you to share this information via email or social media with communities and individuals who need it. We will keep you informed here and in our monthly newsletter as policies develop and change.
We are offering free phone consultations to LGBTQI families in NY State, poly families throughout the U.S., and U.S. citizens in Germany on how to protect your rights under a Trump administration
|We expect challenges to nonbiological parental status in particular and want to support LGBTQ and poly families in determining whether they should do a second-parent adoption, Will or estate planning, co-parenting agreement, get married or divorced, or do a cohabitation agreement to protect their rights. We can also help evaluate the risks of being out as poly or trans depending on potential discrimination, and can provide referrals internationally if we aren't the people to help.
To request a free phone consultation, please contact us.
The general information below does not constitute legal advice. To request legal advice specific to your situation, contact us.
IF YOU ARE IN A SAME-SEX COUPLE:
If you have children, we urge you to get a second-parent adoption now. Being married does not ensure your parental rights. If your family includes a child who is only genetically related to one parent, then a marriage certificate or even a birth certificate that includes both parents’ names doesn’t ensure that the non-biological parent’s rights are safe outside of New York State. An adoption will be a much stronger way to protect a non-biological parents rights, because it must be respected between states and by the federal government.
Ensure any documents about parental status are legally sound and up-to-date. Ensure that both parents names are on a child’s Social Security record and passport as legal parents. If you embark on a sperm or egg donor or surrogacy arrangement, make sure that you have legal counsel experienced in these areas and a formalized legal agreement. You should always have legal counsel on these important parenting agreements, but now more than ever, make sure that you are fully legally prepared for any challenges to your parental status.
Prepare health care proxies and living wills to ensure hospital visitation access and medical decision-making for your partner in case President Obama’s hospital visitation policy for all partners is undone. These documents are legally enforceable nationwide.
Prepare Wills, Powers of Attorney & estate documents to establish federally recognized documents that connect you to your partner legally and financially, regardless of whether you are married, your same-sex marriage is recognized in states outside of New York, or private institutions are allowed to discriminate against you.
Your same-sex marriage is safe! If a marriage is valid when and where it is performed, no change in the law can take it away after the fact. We do not think it is possible for your marriage to be undone. The Supreme Court decision recognizing a fundamental right to marriage is also strong and unlikely to be overturned, and any potential challenges wouldn’t occur until after Trump nominates Supreme Court justices. There is a long-term possibility that a Trump appointee to the Supreme Court, whom he vows would overturn Roe v. Wade, would also attempt to overturn or chip away at Obergefell on same-sex marriage. Make sure to vote in the 2018 midterm election for Congress members who will oppose right wing Supreme Court nominees! For now, we expect you to continue to be able to get married. Some federal benefits of marriage, such as tax benefits, could change.
IF YOU ARE TRANSGENDER:
Update your passport and gender markers: For transgender people who live in New York, our local policies around name change petitions and local IDs are likely to be stable for now. However, the requirements for updating your U.S. passports are put out by the Federal State Department. The policy created by Secretary Clinton, which requires only a letter from your doctor certifying that you’ve had “appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition,” may change. If you have been planning to change your Passport, Social Security record, or state-issued IDs, it’s a good idea to do so as soon as possible.
Name Change: Although the NY policies are unlikely to change soon, it’s a good idea to complete this now if you have been intending to.
NY TransLawHelp Name and Gender Change Support: Our firm recognizes the urgency of identity document services for transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers. If you need help changing your name or gender marker on any New York or federal ID, we have your back and will make sure that you can afford legal assistance. Our firm can assist you with these procedures if you are financially able to retain an attorney. If you need additional financial assistance, we are participating in a group of attorneys and legal workers committed to providing those services for free or pay-what-you-can. To request assistance, please fill out the TransLaw Help Intake form.
IF YOU ARE POLYAMOROUS, OR DOING PLATONIC CO-PARENTING WITH 3 OR MORE PARENTS:
Clarify legal parental status of any 3rd or non-biological and non-adoptive parent: Depending on your state, it may be possible to do a 3rd parent adoption or a co-parenting agreement to clarify the intention for a 3rd parent to remain connected to a child. Enforceability of co-parenting agreements is also state specific. These agreements must involve attorneys to make sure that they are as legally strong as possible. We can do referrals nationwide if our office is unable to assist you.
Clarify financial relationships by agreement & utilize marriage when appropriate: If you have been intending to create a formalized family agreement, or would like help determining whether this is useful for your family, this is a good time to act to create as much legal stability as possible. You may wish to consider whether two parties in your family would benefit from marriage, in order to provide the health insurance protections of marriage to one party if the Affordable Care Act is rolled back.
Prepare health care proxies and living wills to ensure hospital visitation access and medical decision-making for your partners if President Obama’s hospital visitation directive for all partners is overturned (as Trump has promised he would do with all Obama’s directives).
Prepare Wills, Powers of Attorney & estate documents to establish federally recognized documents that connect you to your partners or family legally and financially regardless of whether you are married or in a polyamorous relationship structure.
Be mindful of discrimination. Polyamorous people already have no coverage under existing antidiscrimination protections from employment, housing, or other discrimination. As religious exemptions to anti-discrimination provisions increase for LGBTQ people, polyamorous people may also face more open discrimination because of a perception that polyamory is against traditional family values. We welcome you to contact our firm if you think you have experienced discrimination based on polyamory so that we can track this behavior, but also caution that there may be very little remedy in the current climate. Choose whether and how to be out as polyamorous with caution. We can help with evaluating the risks and benefits of being out in your situation.
FOR ALL LGBTQI, POLYAMOROUS, OR NONTRADITIONAL FAMILIES:
Discrimination may be on the rise: Religious exemptions for nondiscrimination may expand, and discrimination in employment, housing, federal jobs may continue with the limited existing protections removed. Pence has already vowed to remove protections for federal workers and military personnel. If you think you have been discriminated against as an LGBTQI person, contact Lambda Legal.
Get health insurance now if you do not have it. We do not yet know whether you will be able to buy insurance with preexisting conditions after the Affordable Care Act, or whether premiums will rise once healthy people are no longer legally obligated to buy insurance. You will be better off having insurance now and grappling with potential changes to it, rather than trying to buy it after the Affordable Care Act under different terms.
FOR ALL U.S. CITIZENS IN EUROPE OR AMERICANS WHO MAY WISH TO APPLY FOR GERMAN CITIZENSHIP:
Diana spends time in our Frankfurt, Germany office and is available to American clients in Europe who have individual questions about the benefits of living in Europe versus returning to the U.S., or who need family law, Wills, estate planning or contract assistance.
For Americans who wish to move to Germany or wish to establish their German Citizenship on the basis of a parent’s German citizenship, Diana may be able to provide assistance.
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