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Last Updated on: 11th October 2023, 12:31 am
Going through a divorce can be an incredibly difficult and emotional time for any couple. But for same-sex couples in the Bronx, the process comes with added complexities. Although same-sex marriage has been legal in New York since 2011 thanks to the Marriage Equality Act, there are still unique legal issues that LGBT couples face when dissolving their marriages.That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced Bronx same-sex divorce lawyer on your side. As a same-sex couple, you need someone who understands all the intricacies of LGBT divorce and can protect your rights through the process. In this article, we’ll walk through some of the key things to know about same-sex divorce in the Bronx – from finding the right lawyer, to understanding how assets are divided, to preparing for issues like child custody.
The first and most critical step is finding a divorce lawyer who has extensive experience with same-sex couples. Look for attorneys who prominently advertise their expertise in LGBT divorce on their website or in their office materials. Ask friends in the LGBT community for referrals to lawyers they would recommend.When meeting with potential attorneys, ask direct questions about their history with same-sex divorce cases. How many have they handled? What kinds of unique issues did those cases involve? Make sure they are up-to-date on the latest LGBT divorce laws and precedents. It’s a red flag if a lawyer seems unfamiliar with some of the specifics of same-sex divorce.Personality and communication style also matter. Look for a lawyer who listens attentively to your concerns, answers all questions thoroughly, and makes you feel comfortable discussing intimate details about your relationship. You want an attorney who will be an advocate and ally during this difficult process.
One big difference for same-sex couples is how marital assets are divided during divorce. In heterosexual marriages, there are default assumptions that assets are “marital property” subject to equitable division. But for LGBT couples, the law is evolving and varies based on the specifics of each case.In many instances, same-sex couples have to carefully document that assets were jointly acquired during the marriage in order to claim a share. Your lawyer needs to gather evidence like bank records, deeds, investment statements and more to back up your claims about joint property. Inheritances and assets owned before the marriage are also treated differently in some cases.The length of the marriage, comingling of finances and how property is titled can all impact how assets are divided. A lawyer experienced with same-sex divorce will know what evidence to gather and how to negotiate the property split favorably.
If you and your spouse are raising children together, custody issues bring another layer of complexity in same-sex divorce. The good news is that judges make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child – not on sexual orientation or gender. But unique factors often come into play.For example, if one parent is the biological parent of the child and the other is not, the non-biological parent may need to establish legal parentage before they can get custody rights. Adoption paperwork or evidence of acting in a parental role can help.There may also be disputes over whether traditional “custody” and “visitation” labels apply to the non-biological parent. A lawyer experienced with LGBT family law can advise you on establishing your rights. Getting a formal custody order is crucial to protect your access to the children.
Spousal support – also known as alimony or maintenance – is another area with uncertainty for same-sex couples. In heterosexual marriages, there are well-established formulas for determining support amounts and duration. But for LGBT couples, it’s more complex.Some key questions: Are same-sex marriages recognized as legal in the state where you got married? If not, can you still claim spousal support? What if you were married abroad? Does it matter how long you were married? There are no default guidelines, so having an attorney well-versed in same-sex spousal support is key.
Finally, there can be confusion around changing back to a prior name after a same-sex divorce. Typically the process is straightforward. But for transgender or nonbinary individuals, name changes may require additional legal steps.Your lawyer needs to understand all the nuances around name changes and gender marker changes on identity documents. They can walk you through the process smoothly so the name change aligns with your wishes.
Divorce can be an isolating experience for any couple, but especially for same-sex spouses who may not have as large of a support network. Lean on friends and family as much as possible through the process. Consider joining a support group of others going through LGBT divorce to have a space to share challenges and successes. And take care of your mental health by seeing a counselor or therapist if needed.While same-sex divorce brings unique legal complexities, having the right Bronx lawyer on your side can help you navigate the process successfully. Look for an attorney experienced specifically with LGBT couples. Understand how divorce rules differ for same-sex spouses when it comes to property division, child custody, spousal support and more. And seek support from those close to you as well as professionals like counselors or therapists. With the right guidance, you can move forward with confidence.
If you are a same-sex couple in the Bronx seeking divorce, the most important first step is finding an attorney who can protect your rights every step of the way.
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