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How same-sex divorces are different

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2024 | Divorce

The recognition of same-sex marriages and relationships has come a long way in recent years, with legal victories finally paving the way for marriage equality. 

What happens when same-sex couples divorce, however? The process of dissolving same-sex marriages can present unique challenges that differ from traditional heterosexual divorces in the following ways:

1. Civil unions and domestic partnerships may have to be dissolved

Before the legalization of same-sex marriage in many jurisdictions, couples often formed civil unions or domestic partnerships to gain legal recognition for their relationships. However, the path to dissolving these unions can be more convoluted than traditional divorce proceedings. This lack of clarity can result in prolonged legal battles and increased emotional stress for those seeking to end these relationships.

2. Custody issues may not be straightforward

Custody battles are an inherent part of many divorces, but same-sex couples often face additional challenges. Determining parental rights becomes a more intricate process when only one parent has a biological or legal tie through adoption to a child, and the legal system has not always kept pace with the diverse family structures within the LGBTQ+ community. 

3. Property rights and the division process can be complicated

Property division in same-sex divorces can be particularly challenging due to the uncertain dates of a union. Before the legalization of same-sex marriage, couples might have lived together for years in a committed relationship without the ability to form a legal union. Determining the start and end dates of a marriage that lacked official recognition can complicate the equitable distribution of assets and debts.

4. Stigma within the LGBTQ+ community can be problematic 

There can still be some stigma within the LGBTQ+ community surrounding divorce. Because same-sex couples fought so long for marriage rights, some feel pressured to maintain the appearance of a perfect relationship. This stigma can deter individuals from seeking help, exacerbating conflicts and making it harder to navigate the emotional and legal complexities of a divorce.

If your same-sex marriage is coming to an end, seeking legal guidance with someone sympathetic to your concerns can make the process easier.


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