Divorce is never easy, but for members of the LGBTQ community, the process can pose additional challenges. Legal and financial issues can cause emotional and psychological harm and the added societal stigmas might heighten your stress.
Those preparing for divorce can explore some of the unique challenges faced by married members of the LGBTQ community to familiarize themselves and take steps to create a more inclusive and supportive legal system.
Child custody and adoption
LGBTQ individuals and couples may face additional hurdles regarding child custody and adoption during a divorce. For example, one spouse may not have legal standing as a parent, making it more challenging to make custody arrangements with their child. Additionally, same-sex couples may have to endure additional hurdles to establish parental rights.
Property division and spousal support
Property and asset division during a divorce follows state law, but for many LGBTQ couples in some regions of the country may face more issues. Many states do not recognize domestic partnerships or civil unions, meaning the court may not categorize assets acquired during the relationship as “marital” property.
Discrimination and social stigmas
While many people experiencing divorce turn to their family and loved ones as a support system, divorcing LGBTQ individuals may face discrimination and social stigma from friends, relatives and society as a whole. Those who seek help from legal counsel or mental health clinicians may worry about finding a professional who is affirming and knowledgeable about the unique issues. This can add a layer of stress and emotional turmoil to an already difficult situation of ending a marriage.
With the proper support and resources, LGBTQ individuals can move forward from divorce and into a brighter future.