Navigating a divorce is difficult for everyone, but same-sex couples find themselves facing additional hurdles. While the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage was a tremendous win for the LGBTQA community, it did not provide clarity in the navigation of these new marriages. If you’re a lesbian or transgender woman who has decided to call it quits with your partner, keep reading to discover how you can navigate your divorce process best and what some of the difficulties you may expect.
Property Division Issues
Before 2015, countless couples had to simply live together without the option of marriage as their relationships were not legally recognized. This can present some frustrating challenges during a divorce. While couples were living as if they were married prior to 2015, laws in most states only recognize property that should be divided as that which was purchased after the official marriage took place. In other words, if you and your partner bought a house together in 2014 but her name is the only one on the deed, a judge may determine that it belongs to her alone.
Child Visitation and Custody
Same-sex couples cannot have children that share both of their DNA, meaning that one person is the biological parent while the other is not. Although same-sex marriages have now made it possible for courts to recognize both parents’ roles in the life of the child, those who had children born more than 5 years ago may find that their ex-partner has the ability to gain full and complete control of custody as the maternal parent.
For instance, if you were in a relationship with someone for five years before you got married and never legally adopted their child, then the court may find that you have no rights in regards to continue seeing or being a part of the child’s life. It is extremely important in this type of situation that you consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you assert your valid legal claims to custody or visitation of the child you and your partner have raised together.
Alimony and Financial Help
If you are a lower-earning woman in a relationship, then you have probably grown to depend on the support of your partner throughout the years. While judges recognize the need for alimony and spousal support for those who have been married for decades, they can fall short on helping lesbians who may have been together for many years but were only married recently since it became legal to do so. This leaves some women who have depended on their spouse’s income for most of their lives suddenly without anything to lean on after the split – especially if that woman chose to be the stay at home parent for the children.
What Can You Do?
As a lesbian in the midst of a divorce, you are likely to face challenges that may be difficult to settle within the courtroom. While some judges may take your special circumstances into consideration, others may not. A settlement is one way that you can sit down with your ex-partner and each of your lawyers to create a divorce plan that works for your unique case. During this process, which is called mediation, each of you will be able to talk about your circumstances and discover a plan that best suits your situation and unique relationship’s experiences.
How a Lawyer Can Help
If you are in a same-sex marriage and see your relationship coming to an end, it’s important to get legal help immediately. A good divorce lawyer can help you understand how the courts will view your relationship and what you are legally entitled to receive. Our team of experts is recognized for their stellar family law services and our offices are friendly and experienced in LGBTQA cases. Contact us today to discover the best plan for your separation and how you can get what you deserve from the divorce.