Same sex marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. The ruling gave same sex couples everywhere the opportunity to express their love and commitment to one another by getting married. But unfortunately, many marriages—whether they are same sex or not—will end in divorce. There are several unique challenges that same sex couples may face when filing for divorce. Here’s what you need to know about same sex divorce:
The Division of Marital Assets
The law in Ohio states that marital assets, which are those accumulated during the marriage, should be divided equitably between both parties in a divorce. This may seem simple, but it can get complicated in some same sex divorce cases. Why? Many same sex couples were in long-term relationships with their partners until marriage was legalized in 2015. Throughout their relationship, they could have accumulated assets together that they considered to be shared between the two of them. But, now that they are divorcing, the court will only classify assets accumulated during the course of their legal marriage as marital assets. Therefore, the division of property can get messy since both parties will need to determine who owns the assets that were purchased before their marriage.
The length of the marriage could also affect one spouse’s right to recover spousal support. Let’s say a couple has been together for decades, but has only been married since it was legalized in 2015. Since the marriage only lasted for a few years, the court may decide not to award spousal support. But, if the court took the couple’s entire relationship into consideration, spousal support would probably be awarded.
Child Custody Disputes
Child custody is another issue that can quickly turn contentious during a same sex divorce. Many same sex couples decide to expand their families by hiring a surrogate or using a sperm donor. Although the child will be raised by the couple, only one spouse is the child’s biological parent. If the child was born prior to the couple’s marriage, it’s possible that the non-biological parent is not legally recognized as the child’s parent. Since the court favors biological parents, this could mean that the non-biological parent in the same sex relationship could lose the right to see the child that he raised as his own.
If you are ending your same sex marriage, contact Adams Family Law as soon as possible. Our divorce attorneys help clients in same sex marriages overcome these common obstacles to reach fair divorce settlements. To schedule a consultation, call 513-929-9333 or email Steven@adamsfamilylaw.com.