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Serving LGBT Clients Throughout Southern California

The law firm of Bennett & Erdman provides legal services to meet the needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered ("LGBT") people throughout Southern California. With nearly 30 years of experience in this field, we believe we are uniquely qualified to assist you with your LGBT law matter.

Our attorneys are active in local and national LGBT organizations.

  • Founding attorney Roberta Bennett was a founding board member of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and has been involved in Access Now for Gay and Lesbian Equality (ANGLE), the Victory Fund, National Lesbian & Gay Task Force, the Professional Organization of Women in Entertainment Reaching Up! (POWER-UP), Human Rights Campaign, Southern California Women for Understanding, the Lesbian & Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and others.
  • Managing Partner Jeffrey Erdman has served on the board and as president of the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and on the board of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association. He served as chair of the California State Bar Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination and as a member of the California Judicial Council's Access and Fairness Advisory Committee. He is involved with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), among others.

Same-Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnership:

The constantly changing nature of California's same-sex marriage laws has created a host of new problems for same-sex couples and resulted in intense feelings of insecurity for many families. Until the legal and political situation becomes stable, same-sex couples who are married, are considering marriage or domestic partnership, or considering divorce, would do well to work with a law firm that focuses on LGBT issues.

At Bennett & Erdman, we maintain a close eye on all legislation affecting gay and lesbian couples. We are on the cutting edge of law in this area and are not daunted by cases that fall in the "gray area," where the application of law is only now being determined. Partners Roberta Bennett and Jeffrey Erdman are active in a wide range of LGBT legal issues and have co-authored chapters for books published by CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) dealing with California domestic partnerships. Two of our attorneys are Certified Family Law Specialists.*

While marriage equality remains unsettled in our state, California still allows same-sex couples, as well as opposite-sex couples where one party is over the age of 62, to register as domestic partners. Domestic partners have most (though not all) of the same rights, responsibilities and requirements of married partners. Similarly, the state will recognize equivalent domestic partnerships and marriages of other states.

If you are ending a relationship and you were neither married nor registered as domestic partners, entirely different legal principles will apply to the division of property in the relationship.

Name changes: LGBT individuals often desire to legally change their names to reflect important life changes they have made. Navigating the system with experienced counsel can make the process easier.

Parenting issues: Same-sex couples have unique legal needs at the time families are formed, and when a parental relationship ends and decisions regarding the care of children must be made. LGBT couples need experienced legal counsel to ensure their parental rights and responsibilities are protected and enforced in a meaningful way.

Domestic violence: LGBT individuals have the right under California law to seek protection from acts of violence or harassment by anyone with whom they have had a relationship or simply shared a residence regardless of sexual orientation.

Probate for Same-Sex Couples:

Lesbian and gay couples are not treated the same as married, opposite-sex couples under inheritance law when it comes to the transfer of property and estate taxes, particularly federal taxes. Specialized planning can be invaluable for gay and lesbian individuals and families. Attorney Wendy Hartmann is a Certified Trust and Probate Specialist* with a masters degree in tax law.

Legal Services for Transgendered Persons

Name and gender change: Changing one's gender on important documents is a complicated process. Our firm one of the few law firms in the Los Angeles area that assists transitioning persons with the process of legal gender change. We also help transgendered persons achieve a legal name change.

Bennett & Erdman — Lawyers for Your Life
To discuss your California LGBT law matter with a skilled attorney who is also a Certified Family Law Specialist, call 1-877-820-6534 or contact us online and a member of our firm will contact you.

*Certification by the California Board of Legal Specialization.