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Same-sex divorce involves unique challenges

The 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in 1969 was recently celebrated. This marked the birth of the LGBT&Q rights movement, but it was over 40 years before same-sex couples could legally wed.

An estimated 491,000 same-sex marriages have since taken place here in the United States. A majority of them have been a loving union that often involve children, but some same-sex couples choose to file for divorce. There may have been many years of a monogamous relationship before marriage with only a few years of marriage. These unique circumstances mean that same-sex couples will have to come up with their own fair and equitable arrangement not based on the marriage’s length.

Essential issues to consider

There are a mix of the usual challenges and feelings involved in any divorce, but analysts have determined some areas that should be handled differently when assisting parties with a same-sex divorce:

Custody of the children: A non-biological child born before the marriage may not be the legal child of both parents, so couples will need to take additional measures to protect their legal parental rights.

Determining the legal status of the relationship: Colorado has long allowed civil unions for same-sex couples that provided them the same rights as heterosexual married couples. However, not all couples chose this path or may not have had this option if they lived in another state prior to moving to Colorado.

The time asan unwed partnership may not count: Divorce metrics for settlements typically use the length of the marriage, so those couples who did not have a domestic partnership or other legal arrangements before marriage will need to create their own fair and equitable agreement.

Addressing financial concerns: Spouses should explore options for avoiding unnecessary expenses, including tax optimization and creative ideas for settlements.

An experienced attorney can help

Family law attorneys can handle a wide range of issues, including same-sex divorce, custody matters or separations without marriages. Mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution can help the couple find solutions that are smart, equitable and economical.

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