The personal and political of same-sex marriage/divorce.
It is not just heterosexual couples that struggle with the agony of divorce. With same-sex marriages now legal in New York, that also means gay couples are subject to one of the same devastating situations that straight couples are: the reality of divorce. It is never easy when a marriage fails. It is even harder when it is a controversial situation in the first place, such as gay marriage. What happens when a gay couple decides to split up? How is same-sex divorce different from heterosexual divorce?
Same Sex and the City
As it turns out, if a same-sex couple has uprooted and moved to a state where same sex marriage isn't legal, they may not be able to untangle themselves from the bonds of marriage. According to law, if a state does not recognize same-sex marriage, it is unlikely it will recognize same-sex divorce. A same-sex couple will need to go the same route as a heterosexual couple in seeking to divorce. This is a difficult issue with many hot button issues still surrounding the legalization of same-sex marriage. And what about couples who aren't legally married but have been living together and have children and property together? It could become a sticky situation.
Although same-sex marriages are ending at a lower rate than traditional marriages, there are still many divorce cases out there. What's unique to same-sex marriage is that since some same-sex couples still aren't afforded the same rights as straight couples, the benefits of divorce may not be the same either. Sometimes same-sex couples may not be able to receive federal benefits that a heterosexual couple will easily get. Since same-sex marriage is still a novelty, not much consideration has been given to what happens when a same-sex couple splits up. Of course, there won't be any alimony. And what happens if you have children with your spouse? There are not yet many precedents established for these unique situations. Our child custody attorneys in NYC can help you navigate through these difficult issues based on current legislature and other similar rulings.
What about the children?
What will custody arrangements be like for same-sex couples? Does the biological parent get sole custody automatically? These divorces and custody hearings will be looked at individually, according to each case and what it involves. If one parent is the biological parent but the other spouse adopted the child legally, that could work out well. If the other spouse failed to adopt, that could present problems when it comes to custody. It may even be up to the couple to hammer out an arrangement privately that would benefit both parents. Of course, in time the hope is that same-sex divorce proceedings will have a standard that would allow them to operate more like traditional divorce proceedings, so there won't be so many questions about things like custody, visitation and child support for children of same-sex divorce.
Again Katie Marks and Dese'Rae Stage made history as one of the very first gay couples to marry in New York as soon as it became legal. The formerly happy couple is now seeking one of the first same-sex divorces. The couple has no children together, but it's still a very painful and heartbreaking thing to go through ... gay or straight. Stage has stated that her divorce, with marriage being so hard-won, was not only personal, it was also political.
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