Divorce is always a complicated area of law, but things can become much more complex when a same-sex couple gets a Divorce. There have been many changes to the law over recent years, and they continue to impact couples getting a Divorce today. Although the process of Divorce is largely the same in same-sex divorces as it is in mixed-sex cases, there are certain issues that can arise that solely effect the LGBTQ+ community. It is important to work with a Totowa, NJ LGBTQ+ divorce lawyer who can advise on which legal avenue is right for you and help you obtain the best possible result.
There is no different divorce process, specifically for LGBTQ+ couples. The divorce process is always the same, regardless of the gender of the people dissolving their marriage. Many same-sex couples are able to agree to all the issues of divorce and reach an agreement. These are known as uncontested cases, and they are much faster, more affordable, and less combative than contested divorces. Couples who cannot agree on all terms will have to try negotiation, mediation, or arbitration before they proceed to a divorce trial.
The law in New Jersey recognized domestic partnerships long before the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country. Couples who once had a domestic partnership or civil union do not have to terminate their existing partnership before getting married. However, when an LGBTQ couple wants to divorce, they must often also dissolve the civil union or domestic partnership.
New Jersey law has recognized domestic partnerships since 2004 and civil unions since 2007. Couples who wish to dissolve these relationships will follow the same process as people obtaining a divorce. A Complaint for Dissolution must be filed with the appropriate courthouse, each party must file a Case Information Statement, and participate in case management conferences. Sometimes, formal discovery is also required.
People in civil unions have all the same rights as any other couple getting a divorce, and they will face many of the same issues. Domestic partners do not have as many rights, so there may not be as many issues in these cases. Still, the procedure remains the same.
All parents in Totowa and throughout the state have the same right to maintain a relationship with their children and the same financial responsibility to them. In LGBTQ+ divorce cases, though, there are unique child custody issues that can arise. It is not uncommon for one spouse in a same-sex couple to have children from a previous marriage that have not been officially adopted by the other party. This may result in a loss of parenting rights. Still, when a person has acted as the child’s parent within the family unit, they may have legal rights. It is important to speak to an LGBTQ+ divorce lawyer who can advise you of your rights.
When an LGBTQ+ couple gets divorced or ends a civil union, the laws governing property division and alimony, also known as spousal support, are the same. As with other divorce cases, the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may impact these issues.
However, those who have entered into a domestic partnership do not have the same shared property rights or shared responsibilities for liabilities, such as debt. Additionally, there is generally no claim to alimony when a domestic partnership is dissolved. People who enter into domestic partnerships often draft cohabitation agreements that can grant rights to property or support.
When the courts consider property division and alimony issues for couples who are of the opposite sex, they will often consider the length of the marriage. For example, when a couple has been married for a long time, there is a better chance that one of them will receive spousal support. For LGBTQ+ couples, this matter becomes more complicated. Many same-sex couples lived and acted as a married couple before state or federal law legally recognized such unions. As such, determining when a union actually began is quite challenging, which makes resolving these issues much more complex.
New Jersey is not the only state in the country to recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships. Still, just because two different states both recognize these partnerships does not mean their laws are uniform. This can make things complex when a couple enters into an official partnership in one state and then wishes to divorce in the Garden State. It can also complicate matters when an LGBTQ+ couple has entered into a relationship in New Jersey and then moved to another state, eventually wishing to divorce. These issues often require the help of an LGBTQ+ divorce lawyer.
Divorce cases always have the potential to become complex, but this is particularly true when a same-sex couple is getting a divorce. Although it is always important to work with a Totowa, NJ, LGBTQ+ divorce attorney, it is even more important in cases that involve a same-sex couple. At The Law Office of Erin L. Thompson, LLC, our Totowa, NJ, LGBTQ+ divorce lawyer can help you overcome the issues your case may present so you have the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us now at (973) 653-9036 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
I Highly Recommend!!
There are not enough words to describe Erin, but here are a few. Erin is amazing, caring, loyal, a fighter, and beyond knowledgeable. She doesn’t give away her secret, until she is in that courtroom doing her greatest work, just for you! Her confidence is not arrogance, it’s wisdom. I could not have made it through my story without her. I have recommended Erin to a few and she always comes through. I HIGHLY recommend!!
A pleasure working with Erin Thompson, she’s very patient and keeps things professional, she handled business and is very respectful.
Book a Consultation
Attorney Erin L. Thompson is here for you. Please fill out this form, and someone will reach out to you soon.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.