The LGBT Family Law Institute® (“FLI”), a joint venture of the LGBTQ+ Bar and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, is a year-round membership group which allows experienced LGBTQ+ family law practitioners to share collective wisdom and to discuss cutting-edge legal strategies for representing members of the LGBTQ+ community on such matters as family creation, assisted reproductive technology, ethics, interstate and international parentage issues, estate planning, collaborative law, transgender issues, dissolution of relationships, and elder law. The annual meeting of FLI is held on the Friday of the Lavender Law® Conference each year and is open only to dues-paying members of FLI and the LGBTQ+ Bar. Annual meeting sessions are not formal lectures, but rather are structured to encourage participation from everyone in attendance. Further, the annual meeting gives participants an opportunity to network with lawyers from other states in order to build a cadre of family law practitioners throughout the country. To create an environment that encourages the free flow of information, registration is limited to 125 FLI members. The meeting will be closed and the proceedings will not be recorded.
The LGBT Family Law Institute® annual meeting is restricted to FLI members only and is not open to law students. Experienced family law practitioners wishing to join FLI and attend the annual meeting must submit an application, undergo an interview, and join both FLI and the LGBTQ+ Bar as dues-paying members before being approved to attend the meeting. Click here to see more details about the FLI application process.
The LGBT Family Law Institute® schedule for 2022 will be released closer to the event. Please check back in summer 2022!
2021 Program and Schedule
Saturday, July 31, 2021 starting at 12:00pm ET/11:00am CT/9:00am PT
Please note that the schedule below is listed in Eastern Time.
CLE credit will not be offered during this Institute.
|12:45pm-1:50pm||Plenary: State of LGBTQ Family Law
This session will give an overview of new statutes and cases throughout the country. It will highlight new laws in four states and provide a handout giving an overview of all major state law developments throughout the country and some international highlights.
Moderators: Cathy Sakimura, Polly Crozier, others TBA
1. Current issues in protecting parent-child relationships: This session will discuss current issues coming up for FLI members in protecting parent-child relationships through adoptions, parentage orders, voluntary acknowledgements of parentage, and legislation. This includes cases where married couples have been denied an adoption because the judge believes they are already parents; how should we advise parents who can or have signed voluntary acknowledgements of parentage; the interstate enforceability of adoptions, parentage orders, voluntary acknowledgments; and ideas for passing legislation to make accessing these protections easier.
2. Still meeting challenges after Obergefell: This session will discuss ongoing issues faced by same-sex spouses in being fully recognized as married, including couples who had long relationships before they were able to marry. This includes ERISA and pension issues, Social Security, recognition of common law marriages entered before marriage equality, marital presumption of parentage, etc.
|3:00pm-4:05pm||Red State/Blue State Breakout Sessions (choose one)
These will be moderated discussions about current issues that members are facing. Please choose which one feels right for the general climate you are working in.
Topic One: Creative Litigation and Advocacy in Blue and Red States for Family Law practitioners, including a discussion on the current legal developments (case law, statutory law, etc.--this is in your discretion, but the real point is to get the FLI attendees talking and sharing ideas) and creative strategies to protect our families, our relationships and our children.
Red State Moderators: Christine Andresen, Heather Fann (Zoom breakout 1)
Blue State Facilitators: Cathy Sakimura, Diana Adams (Zoom breakout 2)
Topic Two: Creative Litigation and Advocacy in Blue and Red States for Probate and Estate Planning practitioners including a discussion on the current legal developments (case law, statutory law, etc.--this is in your discretion, the real point is to get folks talking and sharing ideas) and creative strategies to protect our families, our relationships and our children in life and in death.
Red State Moderators: Michael Tucker, Liz Schwartz (Zoom breakout 3)
Blue State Moderators: Pat Cain, Wendy Hartman (Zoom breakout 4)
|4:05pm-4:30pm||Red State/Blue State Regroup and Closing & Future Planning</strong|
|4:30pm-5:00pm||LGBTQ Family Law Jeopardy Game|
Programming to be held later in the fall as stand-alone sessions:
LGBTQ family and estate planning crossover issues: This session will discuss the intersection between family law and estate planning, including estate planning tools that are useful in family law contexts and important family law topics that should be discussed in estate planning. Moderators: TBA.
Assisted reproduction & surrogacy tips & traps: This session is for discussing practical and current issues in assisted reproduction and surrogacy, new laws, suits against fertility centers whose tanks failed, embryo disposition, and how to approach legislation in your state if that is a possibility. Moderators: TBA.
Transgender children in family law: This session is for discussing issues that arise in family representation involving transgender/nonbinary/gender nonconforming children as well as how to advocate for transgender/nonbinary/gender nonconforming children in light of the overwhelming number of bills aimed at harming them. Moderators: TBA.