Standing Up For Same-Sex Couples’ Family Law Rights
I am Tucker M. Katz, Attorney at Dietze & Davis, P.C., a family law lawyer in Boulder, Colorado, who provides knowledgeable representation for same-sex couples seeking to dissolve a partnership under the Colorado Civil Union Act. I bring the same personalized service and attention to detail in the dissolution of civil unions that I provide in divorce cases to my clients in Boulder, Longmont, Broomfield and throughout the Front Range.
How Colorado Handles Civil Unions
The Colorado Civil Union Act, which became law on May 1, 2013, provides the opportunity for same-sex couples to enter into fully legally recognized civil unions. Civil unions convey many, but not all of the same family law rights, benefits and obligations as marriage. For example, couples united through civil unions enjoy rights relating to:
- Medical decisions
- Hospital visitation
- Insurance and family leave benefits
- Survivor benefits under certain laws
Although the Civil Unions Act does not give couples the right to file for divorce, there can be a dissolution, legal separation or declaration of invalidity of a civil union. In these cases, the laws that apply to the division of property and spousal support in opposite-sex marriages apply in civil unions. If you wish to dissolve a Colorado civil union and you and your partner have since moved to a state that does not recognize civil unions, you must resolve the issue in Colorado. Regarding child custody, if a child is born to one of the parties during the term of a civil union, both parties are presumed to be the legal parent of that child. If the child was born before the civil union, then the other partner may apply for a stepparent adoption.
How Do Civil Unions Affect Health Plans?
Colorado health plans issued, delivered or renewed after Jan. 1, 2014, must treat a partner in a civil union the same as a heterosexual or LGBTQ+ marriage. In other words, if a Colorado employer offers health insurance to the spouse of an employee, the employer must also offer health insurance for the partner in a civil union. A group health plan that is self-insured will be governed by federal law, primarily the Employee Retiree Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Under ERISA, an employer is not required to extend coverage to a civil union partner.
Seek Counsel From A Lawyer Who Understands Same-Sex Civil Union Issues
It is important, if you are ending a civil union with your partner, to consult with a knowledgeable Boulder same-sex divorce attorney to discuss your rights and your legal options. Call 303-872-8041 or use my contact form to schedule a consultation.