With legislation in 2013, same-sex marriage became legal in Maryland. Similarly, when same-sex couples divorce, it can be an emotionally charged and tumultuous time. Having a dedicated divorce lawyer on your side could help. Divorcing same-sex couples will face an array of legal issues, such as child custody determinations, division of assets and debts, and more. A Bethesda same-sex divorce lawyer could help you to work toward a positive resolution to your divorce.
What is the Law on Same-Sex Divorces in Bethesda?
A same-sex couple can file for divorce based on any of the grounds spelled out in Md. Code Ann. Family Law § 7-103. There are two types of divorces: a limited divorce, which is more like a legal separation, and which is not a final divorce, and an absolute divorce, which allows couples to move on and marry other people. The simplest way for same-sex couples to achieve an absolute divorce would be to file for an uncontested divorce after a one-year separation between the couple or file for a mutual consent divorce with a marital separation agreement.
Child Custody in Same-Sex Divorces
Child custody issues are always amongst the most difficult in any divorce. With same-sex divorce, custody issues can take on an added complication if one of the spouses is not the legal parent of the child. In such cases, the spouse who is not a legal parent may be able to argue that they are a de facto parent and are entitled to the same parental rights as the other spouse. To establish themself as a de facto parent, a spouse would need to petition the court to show that the biological or adoptive parent encouraged or fostered the parent-like relationship of the other spouse with the child. Further, the child and the petitioner must have lived together. The petitioner must also have taken on major child-raising responsibilities and developed a close parental relationship with the child. A Bethesda attorney could help parents in same-sex marriages apply these factors to their case and argue for their parental rights.
Alimony in Same-Sex Divorces
When a spouse going through a same-sex divorce seeks alimony, the court determines the alimony award by weighing several factors such as the financial situation and earning potential of the spouses, age of the spouses, the standard of living during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and more. However, the duration of the marriage may not reflect the length of the relationship because or previous restrictions on same-sex marriage. Therefore, a separation agreement can be a positive way for couples to agree to alimony payments without the uncertainty of waiting on a judge’s decision.
Separation Agreements for Same-Sex Divorces
If a same-sex couple can agree on the resolution of their divorce, they could sign a marital settlement agreement to finalize their agreement. Divorcing same-sex couples in Bethesda should consult with a local attorney to discuss whether drafting a settlement for their divorce might be the right option for them. The issues that the settlement can cover include alimony, division of property, child care, custody, child support payments, and more. By opting to draft and sign an agreement, couples can avoid the uncertainty that results from presenting their arguments in court and awaiting a judge’s decision.
Call a Bethesda Same-Sex Divorce Attorney Today
When a same-sex couple divorces, there are a multitude of legal issues to work through depending on the situation. If you are going through a same-sex divorce, a Bethesda same-sex divorce lawyer could help you to reach a positive resolution to your divorce. Call today to schedule a consultation.