Your Personal Legal Advocate

Twin Cities Attorney Handling LGBT Issues

Minnesota’s marriage equality law took effect on August 1, 2013, and while gay and lesbian married couples have all of the same legal rights and obligations as opposite-sex spouses, there are legal issues that can be more relevant to the LGBT community. To discuss your goals and concerns with an experienced family law and estate planning attorney, call Cloutier Law Offices P.A. for a free initial consultation at 612-332-5100. Elizabeth Cloutier is proud to advise and represent LGBT community members in Minneapolis, St. Paul and throughout the Twin Cities metro area.


Do I Need A Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is definitely worth considering if marriage is in your future. This document will confirm the intent of the parties regarding division of assets, support and other matters in the event of divorce or death. For example, some couples who have previously had a commitment ceremony may choose to use that date as the date their assets joined as “marital assets.”

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, and Ms. Cloutier has extensive experience in these filings. If you decide to have children during your marriage, please contact her about proceeding with second-parent/stepparent adoptions.

How Can You Protect The Second Parent’s Rights Before The Adoption Is Finalized?

When you hire Cloutier Law Offices P.A. to represent you in your second-parent adoption, Elizabeth Cloutier will 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 their partner in the event of incapacity or death, and this document can even be drafted and notarized prior to the child’s birth.

What Is A Stepparent Adoption?

In Minnesota, one spouse may adopt the other spouse’s child through the stepparent adoption process.

What Is A Sperm Donor Or Egg Donor Agreement?

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

What Is A Domestic Partnership, And Why Do I Need One?

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. Attorney Elizabeth Cloutier can help you create a thorough, legally binding agreement that reflects your needs and desires and those of your partner.

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. 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. Ms. Cloutier 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 distributing 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 biological 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. You should review and update your estate plan after any major life event, including marriage.

A trust is a bit more complicated to set up but gives you much more control over how and when assets are distributed to named beneficiaries. Most LGBT couples could benefit from having a trust established.

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.

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.

Arrange A Free Consultation Today

To schedule a free consultation with a skilled and dedicated lawyer, contact the firm via email or call 612-332-5100.