Same-sex marriage has been legal in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it as a constitutional right in 2015. With the legalization of same-sex marriage came the reality of same-sex divorce. Like many heterosexual married couples, couples in a same-sex marriage sometimes find themselves in a situation in which divorce is the best option for both parties.
According to the Buffalo Law Journal, the process for same-sex divorce is essentially the same as the process for those in a more traditional marriage.
Factors that could be considered in a same-ex divorce
In the eyes of the law and within the court room, a same-sex divorce case is no different than a heterosexual divorce case. The factors that will likely be considered throughout the divorce process include:
- The employment of both parties.
- The current living arrangements for both parties.
- The wealth and assets that each party had prior to the marriage.
- The wealth and assets that the couple acquired throughout their marriage.
- Real estate, investments and other assets that will need to be divided.
- Minor children and any necessary custody agreements.
While the process is no different in a same-sex divorce case, same-sex couples will likely want to work with an attorney who has experience working with couples in similar circumstances. This will give them confidence that their attorney understands their circumstances and empathizes with them as they are going through the divorce process. Divorce, regardless of the gender or sexuality of the couple, is a difficult process that is rife with emotion and pain. The right attorney can guide a couple through the divorce process as amicably as possible while still advocating for the rights of their individual client.
Same-sex divorce and custody agreements
Child custody and parenting rights is the one area that may prove to be slightly different for same-sex couples, especially in cases where one of the partners has a child from a previous marriage. But things are changing.
Previously, same-sex couples who were pursuing divorce or separation had a difficult time creating custody agreements. This was due to the fact that only the biological parent of the child was considered to be a parent with full parental rights. Since the law has changed and previous cases have set precedents, the court system no longer views the biological parent as the only full parent. Both parties within the marriage are considered to be parents of the children, and custody agreements have to be created that provide each parent equal time with the children. As with any other couple pursuing a divorce, same-sex couples have to decide on the best living arrangements for their children after the divorce as well as a visitation schedule that will be beneficial for all parties involved. Co-parenting is necessary after divorce, for all types of couples.
The importance of choosing a lawyer who specializes in same-ex divorce
Same-sex marriage may be legal in every state in the country, but it's still a controversial topic that can be polarizing. Same-sex couples who are married but seeking a divorce will want to work with an attorney who empathizes with them and who understands their unique circumstances. Working with a family lawyer who is willing to advocate for your needs is critical. For more information on the experience that our attorneys have with same-sex divorce, contact us today.