Sunday, April 17, 2011

Down and dirty legal stuff: Get excited about spending more money on pregnancy.

So, the other day my partner and I decided to visit a lawyer and learn about what our potential pregnancy and child means legally to our relationship. Oh my, it was a lot to focus and concentrate on given my concussion!! Here's the deal; gay, straight, a-sexual, it doesn't matter; Everyone should know the implications of your legal rights as a family. Make an effort to figure it out for your particular family.

In the state of New Hampshire, I can legally marry my partner, of which we have yet to do. We own a home that has both of our names listed on it equally. We formally share everything legally with the exception of the '98 Wrangler....and I am sort of OK with that. It was her first love anyway, long before I came into the picture. Love the jeep on a nice day....don't need it to be willed to me. Sorry Grape Ape...

That being said, most couples, gay or straight, figure that they are all set as long as they're married in terms of the legality of their relationship with or without kids. The one thing I learned today that was most shocking is that even if you are married, your spouse has no legal right to make health or financial decisions for you if you are unable to make such a decision on your own (let's say you're in a comma for example. Even if your spouse is listed as your next of kin in your will, you technically still need more documentation that proves they are the one to make these potentially life-altering decisions). The reason most people don't understand this is because our society assumes that if you're married, you've made strides to give your spouse this legal right. But technically if you haven't filled these documents, you could be held liable in a court of law later down the road.

And then there's the gays. We gays really get ticked off when we find things in our world that put us at a sub-human level than that our straight peers. Like for example, even if we were married, our doctor could potentially decide to be an asshole that day and make us prove our dependence on each other with documentation before they let one of us make a decision for the other, or on a lesser level, make a joint decision for our child. I've never heard of a straight and married couple with this issue.

And what happens when we decide to move out of New Hampshire? (Sorry NH, we're not staying here forever...) If we move to a state where gay marriage isn't recognized, then what? Our lawyer recommended that we go ahead and have my partner adopt the child to guarantee 100% protection. You see, as long as we get married before the baby is born, both of our names can be on the birth certificate...which is huge! The tiny little bit that's vague and would be helped with an adoption is if A). we break up. Let's say in 5 years it's over. I could actually claim through paternity whose kid it is....and guess what people, it's not hers. or B). we move to any state that doesn't recognize gay marriage. The birth certificate is good, but because my partner and I have would have no legal relationship, it sort of nullifies the perfect, straight-forward birth certificate.

More money. Everything costs money doesn't it. The adoption will be about $2,000 and the rest of the paperwork (living will, all that personal health and financial decision-making stuff) another $2,000. There are a few other fees that the lawyer recommended we pay directly to the court or the town offices, giving us a grand total of about $4,500. Peace of mind combined with enough papers with signatures to sock it to anyone and everyone is priceless I guess.

No comments:

Post a Comment