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Articles Tagged with gay marriage

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What is an Absolute Divorce?”

For years, people fought for gay couples to have the right to marry. States took action independently, slowly but consistently expanding the number of places where same-sex couples had the same rights as their opposite-sex counterparts. Then the Supreme Court weighed in a few years back and sped up the process nationally, making gay marriage legal across the U.S. Now that the right to marry is universal, at least here in the U.S., we may forget the push made by some states to reach out to gay couples, advertising themselves as gay-friendly places to get married. Some states advertised themselves in an attempt to attract lucrative tourism dollars, giving couples a chance to marry, while earning money for their state.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What are my custody rights if the other parent moves?”

Though it’s gone smoothly in some places, other courts in more conservative states have had a bumpy road adapting to changed legal realities since the landmark same-sex marriage case decided by the Supreme Court in 2015. A good example of this is in Tennessee, where one same-sex couple has spent months and months fighting to get a divorce, something that has proven harder than many expected.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

The same-sex couple who sued the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in 2015 has settled their case after state officials agreed to change North Carolina’s policy on birth certificates, which until now would not permit children born to married lesbian couples to amend the birth certificates to include both parents’ names.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”

Most people remember that the Supreme Court’s momentous decision last year in the Obergefell case made gay marriage legal across the country. Despite the important decision, issues surrounding gay marriage, such as gay divorce or gay parental rights, continue to receive intense scrutiny and are the subjects of divisive legal battles. Though the hope among many was that the Obergefell decision would lead to clarity, the ruling, while answering one question definitively, left many others remaining to be hashed out.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Who pays for the children’s health insurance and co-pays?”

Note: This is Part II in a series examining the state of legal rights for same-sex married couples, a year after the U.S. Supreme Court recognized their constitutional right to marry. Part 1 can be found here.

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”

As the one-year anniversary to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recognition of same sex marriage has approached, numerous legal issues remain for same-sex families. The massacre in Orlando, Florida in the early hours of June 12 of this year reminds us of just how far LGBT+ equality has come, and how very far it still has to go. This is Part I in a series examining some of the legal issues still confronting same-sex married couples.

Charlotte Divorce Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Who pays for the children’s health insurance and co-pays?”


North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage took another blow on Wednesday. United States District Court Judge William L. Osteen, Jr. ruled that the Tar Heel State’s 2012 state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Brides Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Mecklenburg Family Law AttorneyJudge Osteen ruled that the state could not prevent same-sex couples from marrying and could not prohibit the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages consummated in other states. Judge Osteen enjoined the state and its officers from enforcing the same-sex marriage ban. Attorney General Roy Cooper already announced this past July that he would not enforce the ban.

Judge Osteen dismissed claims brought by six same-sex couples “concerning the adoption laws of North Carolina.” In their complaint in Fisher-Borne v. Smith, et al., the couples alleged that so-called “second parent adoption is the only way that a family in North Carolina with gay or lesbian parents can ensure that both parents have a legal relationship with the child” and enjoy the benefits and protections “of a legally-recognized parent-child relationship with both parents.”

Plaintiffs Marcie and Chantelle Fisher-Borne of Durham alleged that their children faced potential exclusion from private or public health benefits, veterans’ benefits, disability or social security benefits, life insurance benefits and workers’ compensation benefits. Marcie gave birth to six-year-old Miley, while Chantelle gave birth to two-year-old Elijah. To date, North Carolina law has prohibited Marcie from adopting Elijah and has prevented Chantelle from adopting Miley.

The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the prohibition on second parent adoptions in 2010 in Boseman v. Jarrell, a case that arose out of a child-custody dispute involving former North Carolina State Senator Julia Boseman and her former partner.

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Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”


Buncombe County Registrar Drew Reisinger stayed at work late this past Friday to issue a marriage license to Amy Cantrell and Lauren White. Cantrell and White became the first same-sex couple in Buncombe County to be married after United States District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. struck down the Tar Heel State’s same-sex marriage ban. Cogburn’s order came a little after 5:00 p.m. Friday.

Same-sex marriage Charlotte Divorce Attorney North Carolina Family Law LawyerReisinger stayed on after closing time to issue marriage licenses to Cantrell, White and 19 other couples. He said it had been heartbreaking to have to deny licenses to same-sex couples “based on discriminatory laws” and that it was an honor to finally be able to say yes.

Cogburn ruled that “North Carolina’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law.” Cogburn is a judge in North Carolina’s Federal Western District, however North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper told reporters Friday that Cogburn’s ruling applies statewide.

Within minutes of Cogburn’s order, register of deeds offices statewide became the focal point for the legal, social and political surge in favor of same-sex marriage. The Asheville-Citizen Times reported that “couples who brought ministers with them began exchanging their vows on the steps outside the register of deeds” while other couples lined up at the counter inside to obtain licenses.

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Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can any attorney help me with my family law needs in North Carolina?”


A 40-year veteran of the Asheville Citizen-Times says gay weddings would mean big business to Asheville. The only thing standing in the way is North Carolina law.

Gay Marriage Charlotte Mecklenburg Family Law Lawyer North Carolina Divorce AttorneyDozens of scenarios could play out, “depending on decisions made at almost every legal level, from the state attorney general to the General Assembly to the Supreme Court,” wrote reporter Barbara Blake in an Aug. 3 article. She cited a July 28 ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban and wrote that the way was paved for North Carolina courts to do the same.

That may be wishful thinking on the part of Blake and advocates of same-sex marriage. But as Blake points out, more than a few businesses may stand to benefit from a change in the law.

Asheville is already a destination for marriages and marriage celebrations and is considered a “gay-friendly city,” Blake wrote. Most business owners quoted in Blake’s story said they were open to all couples, and did not market themselves specifically to gay couples. The owners of one event-planning and floral design company—life partners Bobby Hill and Mark Arrington—said “the prospect of a new population of brides and grooms is exciting.” They conceded, however, that they had no plans to advertise specifically to the “gay market.”

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