While any married couple may be at risk of a divorce depending on numerous factors, statistically, lesbian couples are at a higher risk of divorce than are couples in heterosexual relationships or male-identified-only relationships. If you are in a same-sex marriage and identify as a lesbian, it’s important that you know the statistics surrounding lesbian divorce, as well as some of the common challenges of gay divorce that heterosexual couples may not face.
Statistics on Lesbian Divorce Rates
Lesbians are getting divorced at an alarming rate. Consider, for example, a case study in the UK that looked at the number of lesbian divorces following a 2014 marriage (the year during which same-sex marriage was legalized in the UK). By 2015, just 22 of 1,409 same-sex marriages had ended in divorce, 56 percent of which were women. But by 2016, that number had jumped to 112, 87 of which were lesbian couples.
Another study tells a similar story: in 2005, there were 580 lesbians marriages registered; 10 years later, just under ⅓ had ended in divorce. The same source concluded that even when age and age gap of partners are taken into account, lesbian couples are still more likely to divorce than gay and heterosexual couples.
Be Prepared If Your Marriage Ends in a Divorce
The fact that lesbian marriages are more statistically likely to end in divorce does not mean that your marriage will suffer this same fate. It does mean, however, that if divorce is on the horizon, you should start familiarizing yourself with some of the common challenges of gay divorce including:
- Parental rights. When a lesbian couple divorces, one partner may feel as though their parental rights are being violated. For example, if both parties have parented a child but only Parent A is the child’s biological mother, Parent B may worry that they won’t have the same rights to the child as the other parent. This is a real concern, and should be brought to a lawyer immediately.
- Property division. Many same-sex couples have been together for many more years than they’ve been married, perhaps because of legal restrictions. It is important to determine what property may be subject to division upon divorce – such as property that may have been acquired during the parties’ relationship but prior to marriage.
- Alimony/spousal support. Like property division laws, a court in Massachusetts may be tempted to consider the length of the marriage, not the overall length of the relationship, when considering a spousal support award.
Attorney Heather M. Ward Can Help
At the office of Heather Ward Law, our divorce lawyer understands what you’re going through and that you need an advocate on your side. If you have questions about lesbian divorce and what your rights are, please reach out to Attorney Ward today for a consultation at (617) 903-8955. You can also contact our law firm online.