3 challenges in LGBTQ+ divorces

In 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges established that the fundamental right to marry, many LGBTQ+ individuals married their partners. However, along with an influx of marriages came a recent wave of same-sex spouses filing for divorce.

If you are a Missourian and you or your spouse are considering divorce, you likely wonder about what unique legal challenges you face that your heterosexual counterparts typically do not encounter in divorce.

Legal relationship with your child

If you have biological children born before your legal marriage, the non-biological parent must formally adopt the child to avoid custodial issues. If your ex-spouse does not legalize his or her custody of the child, a court may not grant custodial rights.

Division of marital property

As with many areas of the law concerning the LGBTQ+ community, the division of a same-sex couple’s marital estate is not widely addressed. As a divorcing spouse, you should make an equitable distribution of your marital assets the goal. This will counteract the fact that a court might not factor in the time you and your ex were together monogamously before you legally married in calculating your share of marital property.

Determining alimony

Since legal same-sex marriage is still new in the United States, the years of your union with your ex-spouse may not be a clear-cut number. A court considers the total length of your marriage as one of the factors in determining alimony. An inaccurate calculation of the years of your marriage could financially impact your alimony awards, according to Forbes.

You and your ex may have cohabitated monogamously or had a domestic partnership filed in another state before 2015. The judge presiding over your divorce may not recognize these initial arrangements as a part of your marriage.

Overall, as a LGBTQ+ person filing for divorce, you can explore alternative dispute resolution methods or find an attorney who understands your situation so you can tailor the terms of the end of your marriage.

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