Same-sex and LGBTQ marriage has been legal in Maryland since 2013 and recognized nationwide since 2015, which means LGBTQ divorces are governed by the same rules and restrictions applicable to heterosexual marriage. However, that does not mean there are no unique aspects of same-sex divorces compared to ones between opposite-sex couples or that the divorce process is easy, even if you and your partner agree that splitting up is best for everyone.
Assistance with handling the special and sometimes legally complex issues that arise during a same-sex couple’s divorce is available from an experienced Frederick LGBTQ divorce lawyer. Support from a seasoned divorce attorney who has helped others through situations like yours could be key to streamlining the divorce process and protecting your rights and best interests in the long term.
Are LGBTQ Divorces Different from Heterosexual Divorces?
By the strict letter of the law, marriages—and therefore divorces—between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples are considered completely equal and identical in every way. All married couples in Maryland may be eligible to file for no-fault divorce based on either prolonged physical separation or mutual consent, and depending on the individual facts of the case they may address the same issues—such as, asset division, financial support, and child custody—before a court will formally dissolve their marriage.
Importantly, though, Maryland divorce laws, as they are written and enforced, may present different and complicated issues regarding opposite-sex and same-sex marriages in practice. For example, state courts identify divisible “marital property” based on when a marriage officially began and what property a couple obtained since that point—but since same-sex marriage was not legally recognized here until 2013, LGBTQ couples who were married in another state or who lived as spouses before then but were not legally married may have questions or issues with regard to equitably dividing “marital” property.
Similarly, establishing parentage over children produced by an opposite-sex married couple may be fairly straightforward; however, it can be extremely challenging for same-sex couples who do not both have a biological or adoptive connection to a child to navigate custody through the courts. These are just two ways LGBTQ divorces in Frederick can be uniquely complicated, as a well-practiced attorney could further explain during a private consultation.
The Importance of Retaining Independent Legal Counsel
Beyond just resolving the kinds of issues detailed above, support from a qualified and compassionate legal representative during an LGBTQ divorce can be essential to ensuring the process goes smoothly and the result is legally enforceable. Even if two spouses agree about all divorce-related matters and want to pursue an uncontested divorce in court, it is still advisable for each to retain their own LGBTQ divorce lawyer in Frederick before drafting and signing any binding documents. Failing to do so could lead to complications if there are disagreements about handling a divorce-related matter in the future. It may be difficult to change your mind if you sign a document without the advice of a seasoned divorce lawyer in Frederick.
Get in Touch with a Frederick LGBTQ Divorce Attorney
Divorce is difficult under any circumstances, but it can often be especially complex for LGBTQ couples despite their ostensible equality with opposite-sex couples under the law. Overcoming the practical challenges that may impact same-sex divorces could be much easier with support from a legal professional who has successfully handled similar cases.
A conversation with a Frederick LGBTQ divorce lawyer may offer you clarity and confidence about your next steps. Call today for a confidential meeting.