No matter who you are, going through a divorce can be an emotionally taxing process and a legally complicated undertaking. In fact, a good deal of couples–even those who have only been married for a few years–have to make tough decisions about things like how property will be divided, whether or not alimony will be part of the divorce settlement, and where shared children will reside. For LGBT couples, these issues are present, as are others that are unique to LGBT spouses. If you are going through a divorce as a member of the LGBT community, our Boston family law attorney can help.
Unique Issues in LGBT Divorces
There are three pressing issues in divorce that may be specific to an LGBT couple:
- Division of assets. In Massachusetts, property in a divorce is subject to equitable distribution. However, only marital property is subject to this rule; separate property can be kept separate. Marital property is considered all assets that were acquired by the couple after marriage. However, because many LGBT couples spent years together before marriage was legalized for them, what should be considered separate vs. marital property is often unclear.
- Child custody. Another complicated issue in LGBT divorce is that of child custody. This is because LGBT parents may not both be the biological parents of a child. Unless both parents are recognized as legal parents under the law, only one parent will have the legal right to custody of and visitation with that child, even if both are raising the child together.
- Alimony. Finally, the when of the beginning of an LGBT couple’s relationship also matters when it comes to determining whether or not alimony will be awarded, and if so, for how long. This is because the duration of the marriage is considered by the court in issuing an alimony determination. If the couple has only legally been married for 10 years, but has been living together and acting as a married couple for 30, this should be considered in an alimony decision.
Working with an LGBT Divorce Lawyer Can Help
If you are getting a divorce, working with a lawyer is always a good idea even if you and your spouse are in agreement about the terms of a divorce. If you are going through an LGBT divorce, especially one where any of the three unique issues listed above are present, working with an attorney who is experienced in cases like yours is even more pertinent. An attorney can help you to understand the laws relevant to your divorce, file all necessary paperwork, gather evidence to support your case, negotiate or mediate a divorce settlement, and represent you in court.
Call the Law Office of Heather M. Ward Today
At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, we know that going through a divorce can take a lot out of you. Throughout the entire process, we promise to provide you with the support and guidance you’re looking for.
To schedule a consultation with our Boston LGBT divorce attorney Heather M. Ward today, please call us directly at (617) 903-8955 or reach out to us online today.