LGBTQ+ and Nontraditional Families
When your life story feels different, you need an advisor
who just gets it and understands how to truly give you a voice.
Many individuals come to us with the feeling that the legal system was not set up for them.
The laws have not historically addressed their family situations. The judges, mediators, and even other lawyers may appear to disapprove of what are called “lifestyle” choices when really, it is not a “lifestyle,” but in fact, a life –your life.
Our attorneys have spent their careers advocating for clients who do not always feel like they fit within society’s express or implicit norms. We understand, through our work and our personal experience, what it is like to walk in the shoes of an individual who is concerned about what to do with a civil union now that marriage equality has passed, or who has heard from their spouse or partner that their coming out later in life should somehow have a bearing on their custody rights (hint: it doesn’t).
For almost thirty years, our attorneys have advocated for the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community and nontraditional families to legally secure relationships through marriage or informal partnerships, have children, and, yes, even get divorced.
We know how to approach dissolving a long-term union that existed long before marriage equality, or never formalized itself through marriage at all. We have represented dozens of clients in cases involving common law marriage, establishing the custody rights of a third parent who has been involved in the life of a child but not a member of a married couple, fighting for custody for a member of a couple who came out later in life, and for individuals, whether LGBTQ+ or not, who simply decided that the entire marriage convention was not right for them.
In all these cases and more, we not only empathize with you because we have either walked in your shoes or represented those who have, we help you navigate a system, and a society, which can seem intimidating and scary because the “family values” it promotes are not your own.
We will lift you up and help you understand that you deserve to be treated like any other spouse, partner, or parent regardless of your sexual orientation, identity, or belief system.
We will fight tenaciously to put you on a level playing field.
Our strength in mediating relationship formation and restructuring issues has led us to become leaders in mediating pre-nuptial agreements for members of the LGBTQ+ community as well as partnership and property agreements for individuals who simply want to create their own rules.
Mediating dissolutions works much the same way – it is confidential, empathetic, cost effective, and done on your terms and in accordance with your beliefs and values, not someone else’s. We understand the unique issues you face and how to resolve them with dignity. And how to make sure that children remain attached to both parents regardless of who they are.
You can expect us to...
- Treat you like any other client. Every client, including those who fit within society’s norms and those who do not, has a unique and compelling journey, and we will honor that during our representation of you. Our tried and true solutions for a broad range of families often work just fine for you, and we will show you how in practice.
- Understand how you fit within a traditional legal structure. We will leverage our deep knowledge and experience of how your relationship, and desired life outcomes, fit within our existing legal structure, and how legal advances in family law over the past twenty years benefit you and your children.
- Honor your differences. We will honor your values, beliefs, and life choices without even a scintilla of judgment. Rather, we will make sure that your individual values and beliefs are represented and presented as strengths not weaknesses. We will bend over backwards to make sure you feel comfortable with your seat at the table as the director of your own life.
- Craft creative resolutions. Sometimes, unique relationship or family attributes call for unique and creative solutions. We have been in the vanguard in formulating unique, client-centered approaches in pre-marital and relationship agreements, divorces and relationship dissolutions, and even estate planning, that address your particular needs.
- Challenge discrimination and unconscious bias. We have all heard the tropes before. We will expressly call out any conscious or unconscious bias so that your full value as a spouse, partner, or parent can be represented without unfair criticisms that are rooted in discrimination, ignorance or hate, not facts or logic.
We approach every family law situation one at a time, and ensure that your true interests and desires are represented to the fullest extent possible. We know how to apply existing law and custom to your benefit, and are not afraid to challenge them if they do not. Perhaps most importantly, we know how to color outside the lines in creative ways to achieve your legal goals, and in a way that protects your interests and those of your children.
All without judgment. All with empathy, understanding, and in some cases good humor too.
At McKinney Figini we value,
- Conflict reduction. We cut down contention and strive for considerate compromise to reach resolutions with grace and dignity.
- Child-centered resolutions. We put the well-being of children first, always.
- Client-focused futures. We place clients at the center of the decision-making process, never losing sight of attaining their vision of their family’s future.
- Clarity and confidence. We bring clarity where there is confusion, focus to the path forward, and strategic guidance that creates confidence.
- Constructive processes. We move your matter forward with efficiency, open communication, and collaboration.