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The Complications of a Same-Sex Divorce

The Law Offices of Ian S. Mednick, P.C. > Divorce  > The Complications of a Same-Sex Divorce

The Complications of a Same-Sex Divorce

same sex divorce

In 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that legalized same-sex marriage, giving LGBTQIA+ couples the right to marry, as well as to divorce, in all 50 states. Now, while same-sex marriage is a largely settled matter after this ruling, same-sex divorce faces some gray areas and unique challenges.

Dissolution of Domestic Partnerships

Before the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed, many same-sex couples filed for domestic partnerships or civil unions. While legally similar to marriage, these arrangements are not recognized by all states, making it difficult for some couples to dissolve their civil union or domestic partnership. They may have to establish residency in the state where the union was performed in order to dissolve the relationship.

Additionally, around the same time of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling, a number of states passed laws that automatically converted the status of most domestic partnerships to marriages. If your partnership was not converted, you may need to dissolve the partnership first before you file for divorce.

Spousal Support

While every state is different, the judge typically takes into account the duration of the marriage when determining the amount of spousal support that one spouse must pay the other. In general, the longer the duration of the marriage, the greater the likelihood that the judge will grant alimony to the non-earning or lower-earning spouse. In New York, spousal support is governed by a formula and that applies to temporary and permanent spousal support.

Child Custody

When an opposite-sex couple with children divorces, the judge determines custody rights based on the child’s best interests. With same-sex couples, this may be challenging, especially if only one partner has a legal relationship with the child. If the other parent wasn’t able to legally adopt the child, they may not be awarded any parental rights, including visitation, support, and custody. If one of the spouses is the child’s biological parent, the court may automatically give them primary or sole custody of the child.

Property Division

In all divorces, a judge will have to divide the couple’s marital property and debts. Marital property is any property that either spouse acquired during the marriage, but for same-sex couples who had been living together prior to getting legally married, the date of their marriage may become contentious.

If one spouse bought something before the marriage but during the relationship it is considered separate property subject to any claims by the spouse.

Divorce is never easy, especially for same-sex couples, who have to face additional legal hurdles. If you’re planning to divorce your same-sex spouse, get the assistance of professional divorce lawyers in Long Island. The Law Offices of Ian S. Mednick, P.C. will help you with your particular case. Get in touch with us today. We will give you the representation that you deserve.