Same-sex couples have the identical marriage and divorce rights as opposite-sex couples. However, there are some additional challenges gay couples might face when divorcing. You should consider working with a legal professional with experience representing members of the gay community in family law matters.

A Fairfield LGBTQ divorce lawyer can help you navigate the process and meet your goals. Contact a seasoned divorce attorney when you decide to end your marriage.

Property Division in Divorce

A divorcing couple must divide their marital property equitably. An equitable division of property is not necessarily equal. It considers each spouse’s financial and non-financial contributions to the household, the length of the marriage, and other factors that might be relevant in a specific case.

Judges consider the duration of a relationship when making property division determinations, which could lead to an unfair result if the couple dated for a substantial period before marrying. A Fairfield attorney could ensure the court recognizes each spouse’s contributions over the entire length of the same-sex relationship to help ensure an equitable property settlement.

Legal Parentage Issues Can Arise in Same-Sex Divorces

Custody rights are based on legal parentage. One of the most difficult situations that can arise in LGBTQ divorces is when both spouses have an emotional parental relationship with a child but only one spouse has a legal relationship with the child.

One Spouse Enters the Relationship With a Child

When a spouse enters the marriage with a biological or adopted child, the other spouse has no parental rights toward the child. The other spouse must legally adopt their partner’s child through a stepparent adoption to establish their parental rights. When the child’s other legal parent is still alive, the other parent must surrender their parental rights or have them terminated before an adoption can occur.

Couple Uses Assisted Reproduction Technology

When a same-sex couple uses a sperm donor, egg donor, or surrogate to have a child, only one parent has a biological relationship with the child. Sometimes, neither parent is biologically related. Connecticut General Statutes § 46b-477 allows the parents to sign an Acknowledgment of Parentage. Both parents must sign the form; it must be notarized and submitted to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Both spouses will appear on the child’s birth certificate, and both will have full legal parental rights.

Adoption Assures Recognition of the Parental Relationship

When a couple adopts a child together, both parents have status as legal parents. A stepparent or second-parent adoption also ensures that both spouses have custody rights in case of divorce. Although this state confers parental rights to same-sex parents who use assisted reproductive technology to have a child, other states may not, which could pose a problem if the family relocates. Even though both parents are on the birth certificate, adoption ensures both parents’ legal relationships with the child will be recognized throughout the U.S.

Visitation Is Sometimes Possible

In situations where a spouse did not adopt a child and has no legal claim to custody, that spouse may still petition a court to allow visitation. The spouse must establish that they had a parent-type relationship with the child and that the child would suffer harm if the relationship ended. This is a difficult standard to meet in many cases, and an LGBTQ spouse without parental rights seeking visitation in Fairfield should work with a divorce lawyer.

Work With a Fairfield Attorney on Your Same-Sex Divorce

Divorce is often stressful and complicated. Couples in the gay community might find the process especially challenging. When you decide to end your marriage, contact a Fairfield LGBTQ divorce lawyer. They can support you throughout the process and help you meet your goals. Reach out today.

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