Cross Glazier Burroughs, PC

How do same-sex divorces differ from heterosexual divorces?

Same-sex marriages are both similar and different from heterosexual unions. One of the significant differences between the two is when the marriage may have officially become legal. The date that government officials recognize may not be reflective of when a same-sex couples' relationship began. Another difference between these two types of marriages is how parental rights work. Many same-sex couples decide to mediate their divorces in light of their unique relationships.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that both gay and lesbian couples have the same right to marry as heterosexual couples as part of the 2015 landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. It's after that date that all states became legally obligated to marry same-sex individuals. Beginning that year as well, every jurisdiction had to start acknowledging any marriages that had occurred in other states.

It was with the passing of this legislation that same-sex couples received particular protections and benefits. Spouses gained the right to make certain medical decisions on their husband or wife's behalf and also won the right to receive employee benefits once the U.S. Supreme Court entered their ruling.

The expansion of these rights reduced the differences between same-sex and heterosexual couples' divorces. It's now common for both to fight over property division and alimony.

Many judges decide the equitable division of a couple's assets. The court often bases their decisions on how long a couple has been married. It's often difficult for judges to assess the longevity of same-sex couples' relationships since they may not have been lawfully married for a significant portion of the relationship.

Similar issues exist regarding parental rights. One of the same-sex partners has historically needed to go through the adoption process to become the legal co-parent in a same-sex relationship. There's still a lot of legal wrangling that centers around the rights of co-parents to their non-biological children post-marriage.

Same-sex couples must petition the court to get divorced and end their civil unions in some states. A same-sex partners attorney in Indianapolis can advise you if you need to do that in your case. Your lawyer can help you make sense of the requirements that you must meet to get divorced in Indiana. Your Hamilton County attorney can also highlight any complexities involved in reaching an amicable resolution in your case.

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