Same-Sex Divorce: Understanding the Differences
In 2011, New York legalized same-sex marriage. Although all divorcing couples face similar issues of spousal and child support, child custody, and property division, there are differences to consider after a same-sex marriage.
Many couples who take advantage of the new law in New York already enjoyed a long-term civil union, accumulating wealth, property, or both. In preparing prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements for these clients, I work to protect and define distribution of these assets upon their divorce.
If these same couples consider divorce, a prior agreement protects their assets. Divorcing same-sex couples without these protections may see assets they thought were separate divided as part of their marital estate. The process for asset protection in all divorces is the same. When needed, I consult skilled forensic specialists to locate and value assets to create an accurate financial picture.
Child custody is another area not yet well-defined in New York. If the non-biological or non-adoptive parent of a child did not adopt the child of his or her partner, discussions about custody and parenting time rights become contentious upon divorce. These issues have the ability to create a lifetime of ill-will between divorcing parties, regardless of orientation.
In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau reported there were 131,729 same-sex married couple households in our country. As the issue of same-sex marriage takes center stage in American politics, people continue to marry and get divorced. Love, life, and the law—some things remain the same.