At O’Connell and Aronowitz we are strongly rooted in the communities we serve. Our firm is committed to the fair treatment of all individuals, regardless of their skin color, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or gender identification. We are particularly sensitive to rights and needs of the LGBTQ community and we take great pride in our support of LGBTQ causes.
We were honored to be the premier sponsor of the Pride Festival hosted by the Pride Center of the Capital Region, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community’s center of the Capital Region. Our firm is corporate sponsor of Our Community Magazine, a media and publishing company providing LGBTQ communities across the country with a resource of recommended, quality service providers through “LGBTQ friendly” business directories. We also sponsored the LGBT Law Series at Albany Law School focusing on legal issues facing transgender individuals.
While we are acutely aware of the fact that prejudice can color any of the areas of law our firm covers, we are particularly watchful and involved in LGBTQ legal interactions in the following practice areas:
Our law firm is dedicated to keeping up to speed with new social norms to make certain that your civil rights are not violated.
Matrimonial and Family Law
Now that same-sex marriage has become the law of the land, one might believe that LGBTQ couples are in for some smooth sailing. Though there are undeniable benefits to the legalization of same-sex marriage, there are still issues, both joyful and painful, that arise in the context of any marriage that require the legal guidance of qualified attorneys. Here at O’Connell & Aronowitz, our attorneys are both knowledgeable and highly capable in the area of matrimonial and family law and we work with LGBTQ couples in cases involving:
- Marital rights and responsibilities
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
- Separation and divorce
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Adoption and guardianship
- Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) petitions
- Accusations of neglect, abuse, or abandonment
- Domestic violence
It would be nice if LGBTQ families could avoid the pitfalls of marital difficulties and the complications of bearing, adopting, and raising children that have plagued heterosexual families for so long, but this is, of course, impossible. Whatever the composition of your family, O’Connell & Aronowitz is here to help you handle both blessings and crises. We understand both the universal and particular complications you face and are well-prepared to meet your needs with understanding as well as diligence.
Members of the LGBTQ community can run into special problems when handling their estate planning, although situations have become easier since gay marriage has become legal throughout the country. O’Connell & Aronowitz is interested in helping you to create an estate plan that is specific to your needs and is legally binding.
We recommend that, whatever your sexual orientation, you make sure that, with the aid of legal counsel, you create a will and possibly establish one or more trusts in order to:
- Protect your assets and have them distributed as you wish when you die
- Prevent costly probate issues
- Provide guardianship of your children, especially any with special needs
We also advise that, if you have a partner, you both:
- Consider signing a prenuptial agreement to avoid disputes in case of divorce
- Include Power of Attorney designations for unexpected physical or mental health crises
- Create living will in case of catastrophic illness or injury
One of the most important aspects of estate planning is protecting your assets from federal and New York estate tax. Our attorneys are well-versed in protecting your assets from estate taxes through a number of different types of trusts.
At O’Connell & Aronowitz, we are also aware that laws and Supreme Court decisions can potentially change, so we encourage our LGBTQ clients to be particularly careful to have us construct living wills and living trusts so that you or your partner or spouse maintain control over one another’s assets when the other dies.
It is our goal is to provide you with individualized care and up-to-date legal information so that you can achieve your goal, whether it is purchasing a home, adopting a child or preparing for retirement. At O’Connell and Aronowitz, we pride ourselves on always treating our clients with respect as we provide them with the best possible legal counsel. If you are looking for a law practice of skill and integrity, please contact us via the contact form on our website or by telephone.