Twin Cities Attorneys Handling LGBT Issues

Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you are planning to get married when the marriage equality law takes effect August 1, 2013, it is very important that you contact us for a free consultation about your rights. It is important that gay couples considering marriage understand the legal ramifications of their decision and consult with an experienced attorney. We strongly urge you to consider a Prenuptial Agreement prior to the marriage. This document will comfirm the intent of the parties relative to division of assets, support, and other matters in the event of divorce or death. For example, some couples who have previously had commitment ceremony may choose to use that date as the date their assets joined together as "marital assets." Please contact us with any questions.

What is Second Parent Adoption?

If you are in a lesbian or gay relationship and have a child with your partner, Minnesota law requires a special hearing to grant parental rights to the second parent. This applies to partners of women who have given birth to the child, or to partners of men or women who have previously adopted the child. There are numerous requirements for filing a second parent adoption, which the lawyers at Cloutier Law Offices, PA have experience drafting. If you are planning to get married after August 1, 2013, you should contact us about proceeding with second/step parent adoptions if you decide to have children during the marriage. The law in Minnesota remains unclear at this time. We believe the law will need to be modified and updated in light of the marriage equality law. Until then, we believe a second/step parent adoption may still be necessary. Please call us for a free consultation if you have questions.

How can you protect the second parent's rights before the adoption is finalized?

When you hire Cloutier Law Offices, PA to represent you in your second parent adoption, we immediately draft a Standby Custodian Designation to protect your rights while you wait for the adoption to be finalized. This designation allows the legal parent to grant custody rights to her or his partner in the event of incapacity or death and can even be drafted and notarized prior to the child's birth.

What is a Step Parent Adoption?

After August 1, 2013, one spouse may adopt the other spouse's child through the step-parent adoption process in Minnesota.

What is a Sperm Donor or Egg Donor Agreement?

Whether you area same sex couple, single woman or married couple having difficulty conceiving, a donor insemination agreement allows for the use of a known donor to conceive. We have experience in drafting donor and surrogacy agreements, and providing Assisted Reproductive Technology Services (ARTS).

What is a domestic partnership and why do I need one?

Minnesota does not allow gays or lesbians to marry and does not protect LGBT relationships (prior to August 1, 2013). A domestic partnership agreement is essentially the equivalent of a prenuptial agreement. It protects the integrity of your relationship, if that relationship dissolves, by laying a framework for the potential division of joint and separate property, assets and debts. If you are not legally married in Minnesota, virtually nothing is assumed when it comes to dividing your property assets and debts. If you and your partner are unable to resolve the dissolution of your partnership, the courts will look to your domestic partnership agreement to determine the proper course of action. The lawyers at Cloutier Law Offices, PA help you develop a thorough legally binding agreement which reflects both of your needs and desires.

Do I need an attorney if my relationship ends?

If you are in a same-sex relationship, or were married or joined in a civil union in another state, when your relationship ends, you should consult with an attorney. There will be many issues such as division of assets and property , division of debts and bills, possible child custody and child support. We have experience helping couples to resolve these issues as amicably as possible, so that the parties can move on with their lives. Sometimes matters are negotiated in mediation (such as real estate partition actions, child custody or child support hearings, etc), and sometimes court proceedings are necessary. We can assist you in all matters related to the dissolution of your relationship.

Should I have a will or a trust?

A will and a trust are both instruments for dispersing your assets when you die. If you are married in Minnesota, your assets go automatically to your spouse, but if you are not married and do not have a will or trust, your assets will go automatically to your blood or adoptive family. A will is the simpler of the two documents and encompasses the needs of most people if you do not have minor children. We do recommend that you review and update your estate plan if you choose to marry after August 1, 2013.

Two advantages of a trust are: 1) the assets are transferred almost immediately, rather than having to go through probate, and 2) you can completely control where your money and assets go for the life of your survivors if you so desire. For example, if you have minor children and leave everything to them in a will, they will inherit everything at the age of 21. With a trust, you can control when your children receive the money and how they are allowed to spend it. We highly recommend a trust for all LGBT couples.

Do I need a Health Care Directive?

A Health Care Directive allows you to designate a particular person (or persons) to control your medical care when you are unable to communicate for yourself. This is an important document for LGBT partners because you will not automatically have this right. In some states, you will not even be allowed to visit your domestic partner in the hospital. A Health Care Directive gives you the legal right to be at your partner's bedside, to control their health care when they are unable to control it on their own, to have access to their medical records when necessary, and to control what happens to their body if they die. There is no such thing as a "one size fits all" Health Care Directive. At Cloutier Law Offices, PA we draft a document which expresses all of your personal wishes and needs.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to handle your financial affairs in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot attend to them on your own.