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Is a Same-Sex Couple Divorce Handled Differently?

Same-Sex Couple Divorce

Same-sex couples enjoy the right to get married. In New Jersey, same-sex marriages became legal in 2013, and as of 2015, same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states. While that means that same-sex couples can enjoy the legal, financial, and social benefits associated with being legally married, they also experience many of the same struggles, hardships, and challenges that can cause a marriage to break down. As a result, if the marriage is beyond saving, the couple may need to get legally divorced.

The divorce process is generally the same for same-sex couples. However, some issues are unique to a same-sex divorce, which can complicate the process, including:

  • Division of assets: New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets are divided in a manner the court deems fair rather than an automatic 50/50 split. While this also applies to same-sex marriages, this can be a bit more challenging for same-sex couples if they were in a committed relationship for many years before they legally married.
  • Spousal support: Same-sex couples may also be awarded alimony, although alimony is often based in part on the number of years that the couple was married. Since same-sex marriage was only legalized fairly recently, a divorcing couple may have only been married for a couple of years. Still, the date they were married may not reflect the years they lived together in a committed relationship.
  • Child support and custody: Often, in a same-sex marriage, one spouse is a child’s biological parent, and the other spouse adopts the child. If the non-biological parent goes through the legal process of adopting the child, both spouses are legally considered parents and will be initially regarded as equals in any custody disputes that may arise. However, suppose the non-biological parent does not officially adopt the child. In that case, they may be denied legal parentage or even limited custody or visitation rights if the couple gets a divorce.

How Do I Obtain a Same-Sex Divorce?

Since 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry under the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, same-sex couples can enjoy the same marital rights as heterosexual couples. The ruling also means that all states must grant divorces to same-sex couples the same way they do for heterosexual couples, provided the couple meet their state’s requirements, including grounds for divorce.

Whitehouse Station Divorce Attorneys at Tune Law Group, LLC Represent Same-Sex Couples

If you are in a same-sex marriage and seeking a divorce, do not hesitate to contact our Whitehouse Station divorce attorneys at Tune Law Group, LLC. We understand the unique challenges that same-sex couples face during the divorce process. Call us today at 908-434-1061 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, we serve clients in and around Hunterdon County, Monmouth County, Whitehouse, and Tewksbury.

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