LGBT+ Divorce: What Is Different?

The legalization of same-sex marriages in the United States provided LGBT+ couples with protections from legal proceedings such as divorce. Before bills were passed that allowed these marriages to occur, same-sex couples were in a difficult position. Many individuals chose to cohabitate and build families in their own unique ways. This meant that if a separation were to occur, it would be more difficult to navigate any relevant legal matters. However, divorce is much more accessible to LGBT+ couples, and Bez Law Firm, P.C. can help explain the potential challenges they may face.

Time Is Key

Did you know? Same-sex marriages were first legalized in California in 2008. However, several months later voters approved a ban on LGBT+ marriages again. This ban was not reversed until 2013 when the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional.

Couples who married before the initial legalization and after the second ban are in a complicated situation, as they may have cohabitated and lived as a married couple, but without legal recognition. When factoring things such as alimony or property division, the length of the marriage is a common factor. However, a same-sex couple may have been together for 20 years but only actually married for a small amount of time before divorce. This can make it difficult when determining fair property or alimony decisions.

Child Custody Issues

For heterosexual couples, it is often more clear who the father and the mother of the children are. However, in same-sex marriages, these roles are often not demonstrated in stereotypical ways. Many times, same-sex couples have to work to find alternative routes to parenthood rather than conceiving their own child.

Unless parentage rights are documented at some point during the marriage, custody discussions can become complicated for same-sex couples. In these situations, it is often more beneficial for the couple to approach custody issues with a collaborative mindset or utilize mediation. There is no guarantee that a judge will understand the unique intricacies of same-sex couples and their family dynamics, meaning that a legal approach offering more control over outcomes is more beneficial in the long run.

Finding a Compassionate Attorney

While filing for divorce has become more accessible to members of the LGBT+ community, it is still crucial to find the right attorney for their case. Not every firm will have the same knowledge and experience with same-sex couples. At Bez Law Firm, P.C. we have experience with LGBT+ divorce in California. We understand the unique issues that you and your family may face and we are prepared to help.


Need legal assistance in California? Contact us at (916) 512-8944 for a consultation.

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