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Same-Sex Family Law Attorney Overview

Lawyer Assistance With Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce

Following the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States. Same-sex couples may now enjoy the same benefits as opposite-sex couples who are married. However, these couples should be aware of the legal issues they may encounter when getting married or divorced.

If you are planning to enter into a same-sex marriage or end your marriage through divorce, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your rights and protect your interests. A skilled lawyer can provide you with the legal guidance and advocacy you need throughout the legal process.

Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce

Same-sex couples who get legally married have the same rights as married opposite-sex couples, including:

  • Inheritance rights to a spouse's property.
  • The right to take bereavement leave upon the death of one's spouse.
  • The right to share employment benefits, such as family health insurance plans.
  • The ability to file joint tax returns with one's spouse.
  • The right to share a spouse's federal benefits, such as Social Security or Medicare.
  • The right to take employment leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • The right to obtain an immigration visa for a foreign national spouse.
  • The right to receive information about a spouse's medical care as their next of kin.
  • The right to file joint bankruptcy with one's spouse.
  • The right to enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with one's spouse.

When same-sex married couples decide to divorce, they must address and resolve the same issues as opposite-sex spouses, including:

  • Property division - Spouses will need to determine who will retain ownership of assets and be responsible for debts acquired during the marriage.
  • Child custody - Parents must decide how to share decision-making responsibility for children born to or adopted by same-sex spouses, as well as the amount of parenting time children will spend with each parent following divorce.
  • Spousal support - A spouse who earns a lower income may pursue financial support from their former partner following divorce.

Civil Unions

Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage, couples may have chosen to enter into a civil union, depending on whether their state provided them with the ability to do so. While these types of domestic partnerships provide many of the same rights as marriage, the rights and requirements can vary depending on state laws. Same-sex couples in a civil union may wish to convert their partnership to a marriage in order to take advantage of the rights afforded to married couples, and they should also be aware of how state laws will apply when they choose to end a civil union.

If you need help understanding your rights in a same-sex domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage, or if you have any questions about same-sex marriage or divorce, you should contact a family law attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you understand how federal and state laws apply to you and ensure that your rights are protected.

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