Divorce can be a messy process regardless of the involved parties. Concerns about child custody, child support, alimony, marital agreements, and property division can lead to a lot of animosity between estranged spouses. However, a dedicated divorce attorney could help same-sex couples transition into litigation and fairly address their interests.
Everything that applies to a heterosexual marriage also applies to same-sex marriages during divorce litigation. A knowledgeable Maryland same-sex divorce lawyer is familiar with the relevant laws and how to apply them to unique circumstances, so do not hesitate to reach out.
Marital Agreements for LGBTQ Couples
The benefits of a prenuptial agreement are the same for heterosexual couples and same-sex couples. This kind of agreement is drafted before marriage and allows spouses to define exactly how their marital and non-marital assets would be divided upon separation.
A legally binding prenuptial agreement that fairly and accurately outlines how a same-sex couple’s shared assets would be divided can save them a great deal of money and time when they decide to divorce. What a prenuptial agreement cannot do for any couple is spell out how custody would be determined.
If either partner owns real property, bank accounts, or retirement benefits, they should come to negotiations prepared with relevant documents to discuss how their agreement would be drafted. It is very important that both parties to a prenuptial understand that they should not do anything without the advice and help of their own legal counsel. Even if one party’s legal representative drafts the agreement, the other party should take it to their local attorney to review it before anything is signed.
Divorcing same-sex couples also enjoy the same benefits of a postnuptial agreement as heterosexual couples. This type of agreement is made after the parties are already married, so marital property would already have been created and accumulated at the time of drafting. Parties may wish to outline how their shared property would be divided in the event of a divorce. Additionally, a postnuptial agreement may define whether both parties waive alimony or one party receives spousal support for a certain period.
Postnuptial agreements give parties to a same-sex divorce a sense of what property they have accumulated, what property they own together, and how they would like it divided. This kind of marital agreement may even be as simple as allocating half of the shared estate to both partners. If the parties have children, a postnuptial agreement could include terms regarding child custody and visitation rights.
How are Custody Disputes Handled between Same-Sex Parents?
Maryland has a law called a de facto parent, which gives a non-relative parent the legal ability to request access and custody of a child who is not biologically related to them. The non-biological parent of a same-sex couple who shares a child with their partner and wants to divorce could file for custody and access on the same level as the biological parent, under certain circumstances. In order for custody to be granted to a non-biological parent, both partners must live together in the same household, have individual relationships with the child in question, and it must align with the best interests of the child. Those who qualify for de facto parent status are not considered non-parents or third parties and are granted the same rights as biological parents. A non-biological parent who wishes to share child custody with the biological parent after an LGBT divorce could benefit greatly from the help of a skilled lawyer in Maryland.
What are the Roles of Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation in Same-Sex Divorce?
The roles of mediation, arbitration, and litigation do not change for same-sex couples and heterosexual couples. The rules of divorce litigation do not differ based on the sex of the parties involved. In Maryland, divorcing couples are required to attend mediation or arbitration before they enter litigation.
Additionally, alternative dispute resolutions are an extremely important resource in divorce cases. The courts recommend that divorcing spouses settle their personal finances and custody issues outside of the court, which is something a knowledgeable attorney in Maryland could assist a same-sex couple with.
Contact a Maryland Same-Sex Attorney Today
If you are in same-sex marriage and wish to divorce your partner or must respond to their served documents, you can have your questions answered by a seasoned legal representative who has experience with these types of cases. Whether your concerns are about asset division, child custody and support, alimony, or marital agreements, a Maryland same-sex divorce lawyer could help you sort out the details. Make an appointment today to start working on your case.