Legally recognized or not, same-sex couples are forming (and will continue
to form) loving partnerships. They will have children. Some will also
The Legal Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Parenting & Divorce in Washington State will cover many of the important legal issues facing same-sex couples in
We begin by addressing some of the most
common LGBT legal issues in our
Quick Guide: Same-Sex Family Law Tips. The guide's tips will help same-sex couples establish and protect
their rights as a family.
Don’t Leave Home Without It: Power of Attorney
Same-sex couples, regardless of marital status, should have powers of attorney
drafted by an attorney with experience in LGBT estate planning. This document
gives you and your partner rights in healthcare settings to make decisions
for each other, if the other becomes unable to do so.
Protect Your Relationship with Your Children: Co-Parent Adoptions
If you and your same-sex partner, regardless of marital status, have children
together, the non-biological parent should legally adopt the children
to protect your
Tax Season: Make Sure Your Accountant Knows What They’re Doing
The complexities of
filing federal income tax returns for same-sex couples can be daunting, even for tax professionals. Do yourself a favor and find
an accountant or tax attorney who knows the ins and outs of tax returns
for same-sex couples. Make sure that he/she does not rely on a software
program to do it—most of these programs are unable to differentiate
the tax consequences of a civil union, domestic partnership and marriage.
The federal government only recognizes marriages, so couples in domestic
partnerships or civil unions should always meet with a tax professional.
Protect Your Partner: Get a Good Estate Plan
All couples in Washington State should strongly consider estate planning.
It is particularly important for couples who are not legally married.
These couples will want to speak with an estate planning attorney prepared
to advise them regarding tax consequences resulting from the transfer
of property that do not apply to married couples.
It is also important to have a good estate plan if you live, plan to move
to, or have property in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
Estate planning will reduce the potential for issues caused by a state’s
lack of recognition of your relationship.
The general rule with estate planning is to review your estate plan every
five years. For same-sex couples, they should revisit their estate plan
whenever there are major changes in the law or major changes in their lives.
Find an Exceptional LGBT Family Law Attorney
Almost every same-sex couple can benefit from consulting a family attorney
who is well-versed in issues affecting same-sex families. An LGBT family
law attorney can assist you with all of the recommendations above, as
well as provide other advice applicable to your particular situation.
In Washington State, McKinley Irvin has years of experience providing counsel
to same-sex couples in the areas of marriage, divorce, custody, estate
planning, assisted reproduction, and relationship agreements. Learn more
about McKinley Irvin’s
LGBT family law services.