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Q: Marriage and Family questions in Mississippi
Hi, My partner and I have been together for 18 year this month. We have two sons from anonymous donor insemination, ages 6 and 11. We have been remiss in taking care of our family from a legal standpoint. Where do we start? Should be get married in a state where it is legal or is there any protection in that as it would not be recognized here. What do we need to do to make sure we protect each other in the case of death, serious injury from a custody standpoint as well as financially? Can you recommend anyone in Mississippi who we could go to for advice and legal counsel? We live in the Gulf Coast area of Mississippi in Biloxi. This is also close to New Orleans, LA. We own our home jointly and have each other listed as beneficiary for life insurance benefits. Please steer us in the right direction! We have put this off way too long! Thank you so much for your help!
A: Response from Will Halm
You definitely have a lot to protect - your relationship, your children and your estate. As same sex marriage spreads through the country, these questions come up more and more frequently. Unfortunately, getting married in one state that allows it does not always protect you if you live in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage and all the protections that come with it. It's possible all states will have this soon, but until then, you need protections in place. I would recommend that you start with Ashley Pittman. She is a colleague of mine and can either help...or direct you to the right person who can.
Ashley W. Pittman, Esq. Stubblefield & Yelverton, PLLC 3900 Lakeland Drive, Suite 401 Post Office Drawer 320399 Jackson, Mississippi 39232-0399 Telephone No: (601) 936-4910 Facsimile No: (601) 936-4920 APittman@sy-law.com
Best of luck with everything and please feel free to reach back out to us if you have any further questions.
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Cliff Greenberg, Esq, has devoted his entire legal career to helping children and families. After graduating from the George Washington University School of Law, he joined the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Division in Manhattan as a Law Guardian, where he worked tirelessly to ensure that the city's foster children were protected and placed in loving, permanent homes.
Joyce Kauffman is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in December 1992. She has a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley College (now Lesley University) and a Bachelor's degree in Child Development from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. Attorney Kauffman is also a trained Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer; the focus of her legal practice, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is LGBT family law and traditional family law.
At International Fertility Law Group (IFLG), Richard B. Vaughn provides legal services nationwide to clients from all over the world hoping to build their families through assisted reproduction as well. Among many other volunteer activities, Rich Chairs the A.R.T. Committee of the ABA Family Law Section. Rich has also served on the National Board of the American Fertility Association (now Path 2 Parenthood).