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Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption – Things to Remember

Same-Sex Marriage and Adoption – Things to Remember

Now that New Jersey recognizes marriage equality, same-sex couples may decide to adopt children as they build their families, but there are some things that they should keep in mind before doing so. As of October 21, 2013, New Jersey has become the 14th state in the United States to recognize same-sex marriage equality. Gay and lesbian couples throughout the state are enjoying the opportunity to express their love, legally join their lives, and for the first time have the state of New Jersey and the federal government recognize that love as equal to that of opposite sex couples in the eyes of the law. Going forward, many members of the LGBT community are going to thrive and build their families in their pursuit of the American dream. Adopting a child or children may be an integral part of forming new families and achieving that dream. Of course, the adoption of a child and the building of a family are deeply personal decisions for any married couple – same or opposite sex. Unfortunately, for same-sex couples there may be some legal impediments or detriments that couples previously in a civil union or not married may not be aware of and should recognize before they decide to officially become married in this state. First, there are some potential negative tax implications for same-sex married couples looking to adopt as opposed to couples in a civil union. If a gay or lesbian couple decide to marry they will forfeit their right to take advantage of the state adoption tax credit. Further, if married, the couple may also lose the right to some income-based federal benefits. If they are legally married, these income-based federal benefits may be lost if the joint income of both spouses is considered in the determination of eligibility. Similarly, when the adopted child reaches the age when he or she is about to matriculate to college, the married status of the same-sex couple will have implications on filing for federal student financial aid. Although the status of marriage equality across the United States seems to be progressing as, one by one, the states are beginning to recognize same-sex marriage equality, there are still many nations around the world that vehemently oppose the practice. Marriage could seriously diminish a same-sex couple’s opportunity to adopt a child from a foreign country that opposes marriage equality. Many nations will refuse to permit the adoption of a child to a gay or lesbian married couple, simply because the nation disagrees with marriage equality. If you are considering entering into a same-sex marriage or are in a same-sex marriage and interested in adopting the child of your spouse or both of you wish to adopt a child together, you should consult with an attorney with the knowledge and experience to give you the help you need. For more information on same-sex civil union, adoption, same-sex relationship dissolution, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit NJCivilUnionLaw.com and HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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