NEW BRUNSWICK — Many members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) community in New Jersey remain unaware of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
Family law and estate planning attorneys with extensive experience in GLBT issues will explain important provisions and changes in state and federal laws affecting that community at a public seminar, Know Your Rights, on Thursday, September 16, 7-9 p.m. at the New Jersey Law Center, One Constitution Square off Ryders Lane in New Brunswick.
The program is cosponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation and the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) GLBT Rights Section. It is open to everyone. Admission is free, but advance registration is required.
Topics to be covered include benefits and responsibilities of civil unions and domestic partnerships, recognition of same-sex relationships in the tri-state area, becoming a parent through adoption, assisted conception, custody and support, wills and advance directives including living wills, home ownership, taxation and health benefits; as well as the rights provided under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination regarding housing, employment and other important areas.
A question-and-answer period will follow the attorneys’ presentations.
Moderator Stephen J. Hyland is a Westmont attorney specializing in estate planning and administration, same-sex couples law, domestic partnership law and elder law. He will address “Interstate Recognition Issues” and co-present “Wills and Advance Directives.”
The author of New Jersey Domestic Partners: a Legal Guide and a frequent speaker on a variety of legal issues, he served as secretary of the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission and was appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to the Family Practice Committee of the Administrative Office of the Courts. He contributed to numerous state laws affecting the GLBT community and is a member of the GLBT Rights; Real Property, Trusts and Probate; and Elder Law sections of the New Jersey State Bar Association, which honored him with its Distinguished Legislative Services Award in 2007. He has a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from South Texas College of Law, Houston.
William S. Singer of Singer & Fedun, Belle Mead, will speak about “Parenting: Adoption, Reproductive Technologies, Birth Certificates and Other Family Issues.” He has practiced law for more than 39 years, concentrating in the creation and protection of non-traditional families. During that time he has guided hundreds of same-sex clients through adoptions and creation of documents to protect their families. The founder and chair of the LGBT Family Law Institute, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys and a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. He has a B.A. from Rutgers College and a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law.
Debra E. Guston of Guston & Guston, Glen Rock, who will co-present “Getting Into and Getting Out of a Civil Union” and “Wills and Advance Directives,” focuses her practice on the special needs of New Jersey’s GLBT residents. She has represented more than 600 lesbian and gay couples in primary, second parent and interstate adoptions. The chair emeritus of the NJSBA’s GLBT Rights Section, she is a past president of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Greater New York, a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Bar Association’s newly formed Family Law institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and a contributing editor to Sexual Orientation and the Law. Ms. Guston also performs extensive pro bono work for numerous GLBT organizations and ACLU-NJ. She has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, an M.A. from Emerson College and a J.D. from Cardozo School of Law.
Mary M. McManus-Smith, who will co-present “Getting Into and Getting Out of a Civil Union,” is chief section counsel in family law for the Edison-based Legal Services of New Jersey. She was appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court Family Practice Committee, the Court’s Children in Court Improvement Committee and the Court’s Task Force on Gay and Lesbian Issues as well as the Division of Youth and Family Services LGBTQI Youth Working Group. Among the recent trainings and seminars she has conducted are Family Law, Family Economic Mediation, Non-Traditional Family Law and Non-Traditional Dissolution of Relationships. Her published pieces in Looking Out for Your Rights, the newsletter of Legal Services of New Jersey, include “Civil Unions, Some Complications of the New Status” and “Family Law Issues for Parents Living in Different States.” She has a B.A. from Oberlin College and a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.
To register, visit the New Jersey State Bar Foundation online at www.njsbf.org or call 1-800-FREE-LAW. The seminar is made possible by funding from the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey.