Legal Affairs

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It is well recognized that lesbians and gay men aren't allowed to legally marry, and that the well-developed traditions of marital law don't apply to same-sex couples. What is less well known, however -- even in our own community -- is that there is a separate and distinct body of law which does govern same-sex partnerships.

The purpose of Legal Affairs is to educate the non-attorney reader, in accessible and optimistic terms, about the contractual doctrines which regulate our unmarried domestic lives. Legal Affairs reviews the history of the basic non-marital law provisions, and outlines the issue and concerns facing every same-sex couple. Covering both the formation and the dissolution of a relationship, the book provides useful techniques, strategies and insights into the creation and implementation of your agreement, helping you avoid unnecessary conflict and reducing the chance of legal confusion.

Legal Affairs is designed as a companion volume to Nolo Press' A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples, which covers a broad range of legal topics and contains model forms for the formation or the dissolution of your relationship.

Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Foreword
          By Frank Browning
  • A Personal Prologue
  • The Purpose of This Book
  • A Few Cautionary Words
  • Introduction: Looking Back and Moving
  • Forward
  • A Condensed Version of the History of Marriage
  • A Short History of Divorce
  • The Importance of the Gay Liberation Movement
  • Honoring Our Differences, Making Our Choices
  • 1. The Legal Landscape for Same-Sex Couples
  • 2. Tying the Knot: Navigating Commitment in a World Without Marriage
  • 3. Partnership by Agreement: Negotiating Fairly in an Uncharted World
  • 4. The Basic Ingredients of Every Agreement
  • 5. The Children of Lesbian and Gay Families
  • 6. Public Affairs in the Happy Times
  • 7. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: The Procedural Options
  • 8. Home Is Where the Heart Was
  • 9. These Are a Few of My Favorite Things
  • 10. Public Affairs in the Hard Times
  • Afterword: Creating the New Same-Sex Marriage
  • Glossary
  • Further Reading
  • Index



Legal Disclaimer

General information provided at this site should not be treated as legal advice applicable in your particular situation. Every situation presents its own facts and circumstances, and the law may be very different depending upon where you live. By accessing this site, you are acknowledging that Frederick Hertz is not agreeing to act for you in any capacity nor providing you with any legal advice, and that you are not a client of Frederick Hertz. If you reside in California and wish to retain the services of Frederick Hertz, you may contact him at and make an appointment to meet with him.