LGBT Divorce: From “I Do” to “I’m Done”, What Am I To Do?


Family Law And Divorce Attorney in East Islip and Suffolk County, NY

The United States Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in all U.S. states in 2015. This historic judgment gave LGBT people the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. These benefits include tax breaks, better social security, and insurance benefits.

Prior to the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, there was a ban on LGBT marriages in 13 U.S. states. Back then, If same-sex couples wished to get a divorce, they had to go to other states or countries. But now, regardless of what state you live in, LGBT marriage laws are all the same. LGBT divorce rules, on the other hand, vary by state.

While the Marriage Equality Act of June 24, 2011 in the state of New York provided same-sex couples many of the same legal rights as heterosexual couples, certain elements of these divorces can be difficult for gay and lesbian couples involved to understand. This makes it very necessary for these gay and lesbian couples to get the services of LGBT divorce attorneys who are compassionate and well-versed in the field of same-sex divorce.

Our Suffolk County NY divorce lawyer knows how tough the divorce process can be. Whether you are going through a no fault divorce, a fault based divorce, an uncontested divorce, or a disputed divorce, you deserve to have personal legal representation.

Schedule an appointment with Donato Law’s Suffolk County family law attorney to discuss your LGBT divorce case.

Why Are LGBT Divorce Attorneys Needed In New York?

Despite the fact that same-sex marriage is permitted and recognized in New York, the issue of same-sex divorce law is still being explored. Nevertheless, the concerns that arise in a heterosexual divorce, such as child-custody, equitable division, maintenance, and child support, are basically the same in a homosexual divorce. 

What distinguishes us from other New York divorce attorneys is that our work is centered on the law-firm’s core principles of honesty, integrity, and loyalty. We treat our clients with compassion since they are often confronted with some of life’s most challenging problems. Our family law attorney and estate planning lawyer at East Islip, Suffolk County and other parts of New York offer a welcoming family environment with a reputation for efficient, personalized service. Call us now!

LGBT Divorce In New York: What Are The Basics?

The LGBT divorce procedure is largely the same regardless of what state you reside. While LGBT divorce is permitted in all the 50 states, some states provide a fault-based system. Spouses, in these states, can specify a cause for their divorce, most often marital infidelity.

All states’ LGBT divorce processes include provisions for: 

  • prenuptial and postnuptial contracts
  • child support, 
  • child custody, 
  • marital property division, and 
  • spousal support.
  • tax implication
  • adoption

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Contracts

If you’re like many in the LGBT community who rushed into marriage without thinking about the legal and financial ramifications, you should consider adopting a marital agreement to protect yourself, your partner, and your assets. If you’re getting married for the first time, consider getting a prenuptial agreement for the same protections.

LGBT Divorce: Division Of Property

How is property divided between LGBT couples? Property division laws in New York are the same for same-sex marriages and heterosexual marriages. A court will split the couples’ assets and financial obligations according to a principle known as “equitable distribution.” It takes into account the following criteria:

  • spouses’ income and property throughout the marriage;
  • the length of time you have been married;
  • spouses’ ages and health;
  • the loss of health insurance, pension benefits, and inheritance at the breakup of a marriage;
  • dissipation of marital funds;
  • spouses’ future financial well-being;
  • any contribution from the parties to marital property;
  • other essential considerations.

Only marital property can be divided. Separate property, such as that bought before the marriage, will be restored to the original owner.

LGBT Divorce: Child Support and Child-Custody

When a relationship fails, the same people who fought for LGBT marriage rights may utilize discriminatory parentage laws against a former spouse. This is particularly prevalent in custody cases involving same-sex couples. If you and your spouse can work together to construct a parenting plan, you may be able to avoid a difficult legal conflict over the children.

Many couples choose to have a family prior to marriage equality, and most find it very hard to adopt a spouse’s biological children without a legally recognized partnership. Most states will not provide the non-biological parent any parenting rights, including visitation, if the other parent has never formally adopted the children. In a situation where a couple agrees to have and raise the child jointly, the effect on the other parent may be devastating.

Because marriage equality is still in its early stages, it is hard to foresee how all courts in every jurisdiction will treat custody issues involving a child born to one parent during a same-sex marriage. If a child is born during a heterosexual marriage, the court presumes the husband is the father. In an ideal world, the court will use the same presumption in same-sex situations, but the results may differ depending on the state. In this scenario, we can advise you on the best course of action to take to defend your rights and will aggressively advocate for them on your behalf.

LGBT Divorce: Spousal Support

Spousal support agreements can be challenging to navigate during a same-sex divorce due to the tax implications of the federal government’s lack of recognition of LGBT marriage. It is important that you have legal counsel who can look at the big picture of your circumstances and advise you on the best way to handle spousal support.

LGBT Divorce: Tax Implications

When it comes to taxes, same-sex couples confront a challenging situation since the state tax system recognizes their marriage but the federal system does not. It is necessary to get comprehensive legal assistance in order to prepare the approach to your taxes that will be most favorable to you and avoid the problems that may happen due to a lack of preparation. This relates to a variety of issues, notably income tax, sales tax, estate planning, and estate taxes. All same-sex couples in New York need this legal advice because their rights and obligations are the same whether they are married in this state or some other state which recognizes LGBT marriage.

LGBT Divorce: Adoption

Gay and lesbian couples need not face discrimination if they seek to adopt a child, and our family law firm can help you throughout the adoption process. It is important to understand that if you are not the biological parent of your child, you have no parental rights in the case of a same-sex divorce unless you have formally adopted the child.

Can Same-Sex Couples Who Married in New York Divorce in Another State?

Yes. Before the historic Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, same-sex couples had trouble filing for divorce in states that did not legally recognize LGBT marriages. Prior to the ruling, many gay and lesbian partners had destination weddings in New York and other lgbt-marriage-recognizing states, only to return to a non-recognizing state as a married couple.

This made things a little more complicated, though, because LGBT divorces can only be done in states that allow LGBT marriage. After the Supreme Court’s Obergefell verdict, all states are now compelled to recognize homosexual marriages and divorces, provided the partners fulfill the residence criteria of their respective states.

Call our LGBT Divorce Attorney Now!

When a couple decides to divorce, the legal advice and knowledge of a divorce attorney can be very helpful, especially when it comes to dividing assets or deciding on an alimony amount. However, for same-sex couples, LGBT divorce attorneys are even more necessary.

Talk to Our East Islip New York Attorney Today!

With the help of our East Islip, New York attorney, you’ll get compassionate and personalized legal help from someone who really cares about your welfare. Our law office not only handles family law issues, but also estate planning, real estate law, probate administration, business formation, as well as traffic violations and personal injury issues.

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