Families of LGBT people are diverse and often require understanding the complex ways that the law, even if facially neutral, impacts LGBT people differently. Whether it’s the need for a same-sex married couple to secure their child’s legal rights by undergoing an adoption by a non-genetic parent, to the need for people who are estranged from their family of origin to formally designate their family member of choice to inherit or make life-sustaining decisions for them, we understand the ways that even formal equality leave LGBTQ people and families vulnerable. Mazzoni Center Legal Services provides advice and representation for family creation, including adoption and parental recognition, and termination, including divorce, civil union dissolution, and custody. We also provide advice and representation to individuals on advanced planning documents such as wills, living wills, powers-of-attorney, and other advanced directives. Our goal is to ensure that our clients’ wishes will be carried out despite legal presumptions that would thwart them, so that they will be treated with dignity and have their identity respected – even if they lose the physical capacity to continue to speak for themselves.
We advise and counsel low-income and lower-income LGBT people and families who are faced with navigating through the complex laws, helping to identify the ways in which they can protect themselves and the people they love – including children, significant others, and other family members (of choice and of origin). Marriage equality simplified issues for some families and individuals, but did not address all issues. We can assist individuals and same-sex couples, whether single or married, to access the protections available to them and their children.
Our services include: