Learn About the Colorado Civil Union Act

Colorado Civil Union Attorney

About the Colorado Civil Union Act

Looking for a lawyer for a civil union case in Colorado? Colorado has been the site of an ongoing struggle between those who support same-sex marriage and those who oppose it. Boulder County issued a number of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 1975, only to have those licenses later invalidated by the state attorney general.

Legislation in 1992 stripped same-sex individuals from claiming any type of legal protection as a minority group, though this was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. A 2006 referendum to allow couples to enter into domestic partnerships was narrowly defeated, though a 2009 law granted same-sex partners to claim certain types of benefits and rights of visitation. The most recent development in this field is the Colorado Civil Union Act, a law which was passed in March of 2013 and which goes into effect on May 1, 2013.

The Colorado Civil Union Act provides the opportunity for same-sex couples to enter into fully legally recognized civil unions. It is not quite same-sex marriage, but it essentially provides all of the same rights and responsibilities of a marriage, including:

  • The rights of inheritance
  • The rights to make important medical decisions in the event of the incapacity of the other partner
  • The right to have greater parental rights
  • The right to adopt and be legal parents of a child

It is important, if you are entering into a civil union with your partner, to consult with a Denver family attorney to discuss your rights and your legal options.

Parental Rights in Same-Sex Civil Unions

One of the most important considerations to take into account when entering into a civil union has to do with parental rights. If you and your partner adopt a child together, both of you will be the legal parents of the child. In the event that one of you bears a child after the civil union has been entered it may still be advisable for the non-biological parent to formally adopt the child to ensure that there are no legal challenges to the parent-child relationship in the future. The same is true in the case that either partner has a child at the time when the union is entered; the other partner must carry out an adoption, which may involve legally terminating the parental rights of the child's other parent.

Another option you may choose to consider at the time of entering into a civil union is to draft and execute a prenuptial agreement. Such agreements are not only for the wealthy; they are for any couple who want to add strength and stability to their relationship by clearly and unequivocally setting out their economic rights and responsibilities in the union.

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract which describes how any shared property may be divided up in the event that your union comes to a premature end, as well as whether either party may be held responsible to pay alimony. It may additionally include terms concerning who is responsible for paying certain expenses during the marriage.

Same-Sex Divorce Attorney in Colorado

Searching for a lawyer for a civil union case in Denver? In addition to the concerns involved in entering a civil union, it is also important to take into account the fact that many civil unions will end in dissolution. This is actually one of the most powerful rights bestowed by the new civil union law, since prior to this time, same-sex couples had few if any rights in respect to shared property and other matters at the time that their relationship came to an end.

Regardless of how long the relationship lasted, shared property would still often go by default to the person whose name was on the title or deed. Now, just as in a divorce, you can claim your rightful share of assets and property which you and your partner have obtained together, in addition to claiming parental rights such as for child custody, visitation and child support.

To learn more about your options, contact us now at Jones Law Firm, PC for an initial consultation.

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