In recent years, the acknowledgment and legalization of same-sex marriages have marked a significant milestone for LGBTQ+ rights in the United States. As a result, there’s been a noticeable shift in the legal landscape surrounding marriages and, consequently, divorces. However, many clients often ask the divorce lawyers at Owens & Perkins in Scottsdale, AZ: “Is the divorce process the same for same-sex couples as it is for heterosexual couples?” Let’s delve into this query.
Before the 2015 landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, where the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, not all states recognized same-sex marriages. This differential recognition posed numerous challenges when it came to divorce. Today, all states not only recognize same-sex marriages but also grant same-sex divorces.
Divorce Proceedings – The Similarities
At its core, the dissolution of a marriage, regardless of the gender of the parties involved, necessitates the division of assets and liabilities, decisions regarding spousal maintenance (alimony), and if children are involved, custody and child support resolutions. These fundamental requirements apply uniformly to both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
The Unique Challenges
While the basic procedure for divorce remains consistent, same-sex couples can face distinct challenges that their heterosexual counterparts might not. Some of these challenges include:
- Duration of the Relationship: Many same-sex couples cohabited and shared financial responsibilities long before their unions were legally recognized. This can pose issues and complexities when determining not only the duration of the marriage, which is often a factor in spousal maintenance, but also whether Arizona’s community property law and certain presumptions contained therein should be applied in the division of property acquired by the parties prior to their legal union and marriage.
- Parental Rights: When children are involved, custody matters can get intricate. If only one partner is a biological parent or if formal adoption procedures were not undertaken by the non-biological parent before the dissolution process began, the legal recognition of both as equal or legal parents might be a point of contention.
- Previous Marital Agreements: Before the universal recognition of same-sex marriages, many couples might have entered into partnership agreements or other legal arrangements to protect their rights. How these agreements interface with current divorce proceedings can be a unique hurdle.
- Cultural and Social Considerations: The unfortunate reality is that not all families and communities are accepting of same-sex marriages. During divorce proceedings, this can introduce added emotional and social complexities.
How Owens & Perkins Can Help
Navigating the terrain of divorce, with its emotional and legal intricacies, requires expert guidance. For same-sex couples, it’s essential to work with lawyers familiar with both the commonalities and the unique aspects of their situations. Here at Owens & Perkins, our team of dedicated professionals has extensive experience with a diverse range of divorce cases, including those of same-sex couples.
- Expertise: Our lawyers are up-to-date with the latest legal developments pertaining to same-sex divorces, ensuring that your rights are always protected.
- Personalized Approach: Every relationship and subsequently, every divorce, is unique. Our team believes in a tailored approach, understanding the specifics of your situation, and crafting a strategy that serves your best interests.
- Comprehensive Support: Beyond the legal paperwork, we offer emotional and logistical support, guiding our clients through mediation, court appearances, and any post-divorce modifications.
Divorce Lawyer In Scottsdale AZ
While the fundamental procedure of divorce remains consistent across couples, the unique experiences and challenges faced by same-sex couples necessitate specialized understanding and expertise. As society evolves, so does the legal landscape. Rest assured, the professionals at Owens & Perkins, Scottsdale, AZ, are committed to being your trusted guides every step of the way.
If you or someone you know is navigating the complexities of a same-sex divorce, reach out to us at 480-994-8824. At Owens & Perkins, we’re not just attorneys; we’re advocates for your future.