Divorce and LGBTQ+ Couples in New York: Specific Considerations

At Jackson Bergman, LLP, we are committed to providing comprehensive legal support to all our clients, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged process, and this is no different for LGBTQ+ couples in New York. Today, we want to shed light on some specific considerations that arise when LGBTQ+ couples go through a divorce in the Empire State.

Marriage Recognition in New York

New York has been at the forefront of recognizing LGBTQ+ rights, and in 2011, it legalized same-sex marriage. As a result, same-sex couples legally married in New York are entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual couples regarding divorce. This includes property division, spousal support, and child custody issues.

The Impact of Federal Laws

While New York state laws are inclusive of LGBTQ+ rights, some federal laws may still pose challenges during a divorce. For example, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), struck down in 2013, had previously limited federal recognition of same-sex marriages. However, certain federal benefits may still not be accessible to LGBTQ+ couples going through a divorce.

Custody and Parental Rights

Child custody can be complex for any divorcing couple, and it is no different for LGBTQ+ couples. The court prioritizes the child's best interests in New York when making custody decisions. The sexual orientation or gender identity of either parent should not be a factor in determining custody arrangements. However, some individuals may still hold biased views, and it's crucial to have skilled legal representation to protect parental rights.

Division of Assets

New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning that assets acquired during the marriage are subject to fair distribution. For LGBTQ+ couples who may have faced unique financial challenges or inequalities due to discrimination, this can be particularly important. Ensuring that all assets and debts are properly accounted for requires meticulous attention to detail and experienced legal guidance.

Alimony and Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, may be awarded based on factors such as the length of the marriage, income disparity between spouses, and their respective financial needs. In same-sex marriages, one spouse may have encountered career setbacks due to discrimination, making spousal support crucial for their financial stability after divorce.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be valuable tools for LGBTQ+ couples to protect their assets and address potential issues in divorce. These agreements can help streamline the divorce process and clarify property division and support matters.

Emotional and Mental Health Considerations

Divorce can take an emotional toll on any individual, and LGBTQ+ individuals may face additional challenges due to societal stigmas and discrimination. At Jackson Bergman, LLP, we understand the importance of providing empathetic support to our clients during this difficult time. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to guiding you through the process with sensitivity and compassion.

Navigating a divorce as an LGBTQ+ couple in New York can present unique legal considerations. However, you can protect your rights and secure a fair settlement with the right legal representation and support. At Jackson Bergman, LLP, we are proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community and provide the legal expertise needed to navigate this complex process successfully.

Contact Jackson Bergman, LLP, today if you have questions about your rights. We are here to help you through every step of the way.