Do LGBTQ members of the community require special legal services?

In short, yes. In light of the enormous strides this country has made in recognizing the equality and value of a diverse society, there are still relics of the law that could potentially harm lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other members of the rainbow of humanity. Frequently, LGBTQIA+ members of the community believe that marriage equality granted equal rights across the board. Unfortunately, that is not the case and systemic bias still occurs in the law.

What are some issues facing diverse families? As an openly gay, cisgender male, I have a unique perspective on the law. I am also the only LGBTQ estate planning attorney in the Des Moines Metro, and the only LGBTQ elder law attorney in the entire state. Through my work I have found diverse families face issues related to the legal recognition of a spouse and the recognition of a second parent’s rights (same-sex spouse) over the children from prior marriages (heterosexual ex-spouse). There is a third category of legalities related to gender identity—but that tends to focus more on changing the name on official documents.

In general, marriage solves many issues within the law—but what if you and your unmarried partner want legal protections without having to get married? What if you have children with an ex-spouse that will not let your children interact with your new same-sex partner? What if your spouse requires emergency attention? What if your new same-sex spouse is the only person available to help your child in an emergency? What rights does each party have?

We are lucky to live in a state like Iowa that recognizes the rights of our diverse families. But those aforementioned issues don’t disappear because of that luck. You estate plan, Medicaid eligibility planning, will, living will, medical directives, and other documents must be crafted in a way that preserves your rights and wishes. So why go to an attorney that has expertise in LGBT rights?

We will work with you to understand your concerns and wishes to create a customized solution to protect your wishes and your family. You are bold and live a life that is joyous and colorful—make sure that you protect your rainbow family with a team dedicated to celebrating your diversity.