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Important Legal Documents Every Same-Sex Couple Needs

Part of the Same-Sex Legal Kit For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Especially when a gay or lesbian couple is ready to move in together, make a major purchase or have a child, some essential supporting documents are necessary to establish a legal relationship where none would otherwise exist. These documents include the following:

  • Living-together agreement (LTA): Also referred to as a partnership agreement, this document is a bit like a prenuptial agreement in that it sets forth the terms of your arrangement living together. It's a contract that lets you put into writing how the two of you will share expenses, property, and household chores. It also lets you say how you'll divvy up your property in the event of a breakup.

  • Co-parenting agreement: This document is a contract between the parents — even when only one of them is a legal parent — that sets forth the terms of how they will parent the child while they live together as a family and how they will continue to do so after they break up.

  • Nomination of guardian: This document lets you appoint your partner or someone else to raise your child in case you become incapacitated or die before the child reaches the age of 18. Co-parents should also nominate a guardian for their child in case something happens to both of them while their child is still a minor.

  • Authorization to consent to the medical treatment of a minor child: This document lets you appoint your partner to make emergency and non-emergency decisions about your child's medical treatment. This document can also include authorization to interact with your child's teachers and other school officials, travel with your child, and so on.

  • Hospital visitation form: This form notifies medical staff and others that it's your wish that your partner and children (or whomever else you prefer) to have priority over all others to be at your hospital bedside.

  • Disposition of remains form: This form lets you appoint your partner to make your funeral or cremation arrangements and to take possession of your ashes afterward.

You can obtain these documents from an experienced attorney or through Rainbow Law.

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