Divorce raises many issues between a couple looking to end their relationships, such as child support, spousal support, child custody, and property division. However, these issues are often gendered and have traditionally been viewed through a heterosexual lens.
This article explores the intricacies of same-sex divorce and explains why it’s important to have an attorney well versed in these matters to assist with your same-sex divorce papers.
Considerations with Same-Sex Divorces
Since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, same-sex divorce has also been legal in every state. But there are certain complications that same-sex couples face that heterosexual couples simply don’t. For example, your divorce can be more complicated if you had a registered domestic partnership or civil union before marriage equality became law.
There are also residency requirements, and many states will only allow you to file for divorce if you have lived there for six months. But in New York, at least one of the people in the marriage needs to have lived in the state for a year to file same-sex divorce papers.
Division of Property
As with any divorce, a judge will decide who gets to keep which pieces of property, but this can be more complex if the couple was living together before same-sex marriage was federally legal because they didn’t have the option to be married before then. A couple’s marital property is divided fairly between the spouses. However, the court often categorizes properties as separate if one person bought property before the couple was officially married. Property that is commonly divided in a same-sex divorce includes houses, vehicles, income, furniture, and other personal possessions.
Child Custody and Support
Many same-sex couples have children together, which can cause custody battles if there are disputes during a divorce. In some situations, one spouse had biological children but the other spouse wasn’t able to adopt them before the marriage equality law. Even now, courts are less likely to award child custody or even visitation to a parent who lever legally adopted the children of the other spouse. Since marriage equality is still fairly new in America, courts are still figuring out how to deal with child custody cases involving same-sex couples.
Same-sex couples who were together for a long time before they were allowed to legally get married face challenges with regard to spousal support. For heterosexual couples, spousal support awards generally increase based upon the amount of time the couple was married. Some judges will consider the years that a same-sex couple was together before marriage when determining spousal support, while others will only consider the legally married years.
Get Help with Your Same-Sex Divorce Papers
For all of these reasons, it is important to have a divorce lawyer on your side who understands the complexities of same-sex divorce and who is specifically familiar with drawing up same-sex divorce papers. The Law Office of Theodore Alatsas specializes in this type of divorce and can help you navigate the process so that you get what you deserve when your marriage comes to an end.
To learn more about how we can help with your same-sex divorce and for a free consultation, please contact us by phone at 718-233-2903 or via online form. We look forward to helping you protect your rights and move on with your life after marriage.