Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage in 2013. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit and legalized marriage equality for the entire nation. However, some same-sex couples are now finding that divorce is often more complicated for them than it is for straight couples.
According to legal experts, one of the top points of contention is establishing the duration of the marriage for the purposes of property division and spousal support. Many same-sex couples were involved in lengthy relationships before they were granted the right to marry. When it comes to divorce, it is up to the individual court to decide whether the marriage began the moment the legal documents were signed or when the relationship began. The date the court chooses to recognize dictates the percentage of marital assets or alimony a spouse is owed.
Same-sex couples can also face special challenges when it comes to child custody issues. In many cases, only one spouse has legal parental rights to a child. This can make it difficult for the nonlegal parent to see the child after the divorce. Meanwhile, some couples who entered into a legal domestic partnership before tying the knot now find that they must dissolve both unions to be completely divorced.
Individuals facing a same-sex divorce may find it helpful to consult with an attorney familiar with LGBT family law. An attorney could protect a spouse’s rights throughout the divorce process and work to negotiate favorable agreements on property division, spousal support, custody of children, child support and other important divorce legal issues.