Same-sex couples continue to face special challenges. They face unique questions and issues in the family courts and other areas of life. Here are the top seven issues facing same-sex couples from our Las Vegas family law attorneys.
Top 7 Family Law Issues for Same-Sex Couples
Here are the top 7 family law issues for same-sex couples:
1. Parentage of Children
When same-sex couples get divorced, the parentage of children can be a complex matter. A spouse may not have adopted the biological child of the other spouse. Custody disagreements can be especially complex when same-sex couples are involved. It’s essential to work with an experienced same-sex divorce attorney to understand your rights and obligations under the law. You must be prepared to argue to the court how the laws and facts apply to your case.
The best time to consider the parentage of children is when the child joins your family. If you wish for both parents to have equal rights, it’s vital for the non-biological parent to formally adopt the child. The law states that any child born of the marriage is considered a child of both parents. However, in practice, some courts give significant weight to the biological parent. The best time for parents to determine the legal rights relating to a child is when the child joins the family. When parents create a written agreement and undergo formal adoption if they choose, they can avoid some of the controversy and strains that may surround custody of children in same-sex divorce.
Beyond custody, there are practical reasons that same-sex parents should consider the legal relationship with their children as soon as possible. Same-sex families face discrimination in everyday life. For example, same-sex parents may face discrimination when both parents seek to gain access to medical records and education records for the child. Executing a power of attorney or completing formal adoption can clear up misconceptions and give you the legal authority to challenge discrimination that you encounter every day.
2. Short and Long-Term Relationships
Many same-sex couples date or even live together for a period of time before they get married. The family law courts treat short-term and long-term marriages very differently. Only long-term marriages qualify for spousal support or alimony. In addition, the court may be more likely to invade separate property in a long-term marriage.
Different judges have different policies when it comes to short-term marriages that follow long periods of dating. Some judges treat a marriage like that as a long term marriage even though the parties were only married for a short time. Other judges are willing to consider only the period where the parties are lawfully married. It’s essential to understand how the court in your case is going to look at the nature and duration of your entire relationship. You may need to be prepared to appeal a decision that doesn’t fairly follow the law.
3. Gender Biases and a Lack of Education
Even though the laws provide equal protection for families of all kinds, judges may still be uneducated about modern laws. In the unfortunate situation that a judge doesn’t understand the laws or apply them fairly, you must be prepared to take the appropriate action. You should be prepared to preserve issues for appeal. Your family law attorney can help you fight for equal and fair treatment under the law.
4. Custody and Spousal Support
To receive fair treatment under the law, it’s up to each party to make their case to the court. Making your case effectively means showing the court what the true circumstances are in your case. Each divorce is unique. Reaching justice in the case depends on what the facts are in the case and how the laws apply.
In a same-sex divorce, showing the judge the true circumstances may be critical to helping the court arrive at justice in your case. You may need to carefully prepare witnesses and testimony to show the judge the facts and ask for an appropriate result. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence to present the facts to the court.
5. Domestic Violence
Unfortunately, domestic violence can occur in all families. When you’re a victim of domestic violence, you deserve the same protections under the law that other victims of domestic violence have. Too often, law enforcement officials aren’t trained to understand the complex domestic violence issues that surround same-sex couples. Domestic violence is a crime in all states. A person of any gender may be the victim of domestic violence. If you’re a victim, your attorney can help you understand how to assert your rights.
6. Jurisdictional Issues
When you file for divorce, there’s a residency requirement. You must file for divorce in the state where you live. It’s not as simple as filing for divorce in the state where you got married. The laws that apply to your divorce are the laws of the state where you file. While U.S. law requires all states to give full faith and credit to same-sex marriages, states have varying divorce laws. It’s essential to understand how jurisdictional challenges may impact your same-sex divorce.
7. Adoption and Private Adoption Agencies
Even though same-sex couples may adopt throughout the United States, private adoption agencies still occasionally discriminate against same-sex couples. Their refusal to work with same-sex couples can result in children failing to find the loving homes that they deserve. In addition, foreign countries may have different adoption laws than the laws that apply in the United States. Same-sex couples can work with an experienced adoption attorney to challenge discrimination and build their family in the way that they see fit.
Contact Our Las Vegas Attorneys for Same-Sex Family Law Issues
Do you have questions about same-sex family law issues? We believe that everyone deserves the assistance of passionate and qualified attorneys advocating for them. Whatever your questions are, we want to help you understand your legal rights and fight for justice.
Our team is prepared to do whatever it takes for you to receive justice. We’re prepared to defend your rights, challenge inequities, and argue for necessary extensions of the law. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.