Every divorce case involves challenges, but LGBTQIA+ couples who are divorcing need to deal with some issues that other couples do not. When your attorney understands these potential difficulties, they can better protect your interests and put you in the best position as you emerge from the divorce process.
At Reade Law Firm, PC, we are prepared to help you succeed at every stage in the process. Together, we will overcome the challenges to find the best solutions for property division, debt allocation, child custody, alimony, and all facets of your divorce. We can negotiate to obtain terms that best suit your needs, but if discussions fail to produce agreements, we will have set the stage to achieve your objectives in court.
Property Division and Alimony
Massachusetts is not a community property state. In divorce, property is supposed to be divided equitably or fairly rather than equally. Of course, what is fair can be a matter of opinion. It is vital to ensure that your attorney presents all the arguments in your favor when it comes to property division.
One of the factors that can affect both property division and alimony is the length of a marriage. This can sometimes be challenging to ascertain in a LGBTQIA+ divorce because so many jurisdictions refused to acknowledge LGBTQIA+ marriages for such a long time. Couples living together in a committed relationship for 30 years might only have been legally married for half of that time. Your attorney will need to argue for fair alimony and property division based on the specific circumstances of your relationship.
When LGBTQIA+ couples have children, often a child may be legally or biologically related to only one partner. This can cause significant difficulties for the other partner who wants to maintain a relationship with their child after a divorce. Ideally, both partners would be listed on a child’s birth certificate or a partner without a legal or biological relationship would adopt the child to protect their rights. However, if this has not occurred, it is wise to consult a LGBTQIA+ divorce lawyer as soon as possible to work on protecting parental rights.
Both legal and physical custody can be awarded solely to one parent or be shared between parents. Legal custody refers to control over decisions about a child’s life, such as education and medical treatment. Physical custody refers to living arrangements, and even in a shared physical custody arrangement, a child may live with one parent much more time than the other.
Courts make custody decisions based on a child’s best interests. Parents may develop their own plans for custody, and as long as those plans appear to serve the child’s needs, the court is likely to approve.
A child born while two people are married is presumed to be the child of both members of the couple. However, if one partner in a LGBTQIA+ relationship had a child before the marriage and the other partner has not adopted the child, that partner might not automatically be responsible for child support. It is important to assess the legal circumstances so your attorney can advocate for the result that protects your interests and serves the best interests of the child.
Reade Law Firm, PC Advocates Successfully for Clients in LGBTQIA+ Divorce in Massachusetts
Ending a marriage can be a frightening and lonely experience filled with uncertainty. But the team at Reade Law Firm, PC can help. We stand by you throughout the process, explaining what to expect and guiding you through decisions to reach the best outcome.
For a confidential consultation to learn more about the ways we can assist, contact us today.