In the past few years, the laws have changed to allow same sex couples to legally marry. However, just as couples in a straight marriage can come to the conclusion that they want to get a divorce, the same ending can happen with a same sex marriage. In the Bronx and anywhere else in the New York City area, a person in a same sex marriage that is going to dissolve through a divorce needs the assistance of a skilled same sex divorce attorney.
Same Sex Divorce in the Bronx and New York City in General
The Bronx and the entire state of New York started recognizing same sex marriage in 2011, after the Marriage Equality Act was passed. Generally speaking, the process of a divorce between a same sex couple is essentially the same as for a straight married couple. However, there are a few additional factors that are special within the process that require legal expertise from the lawyer. It is also important for anyone going through a same sex divorce to remain composed, be prepared and proactive.
Issues Relating to Same Sex Divorces
Just as with straight married couples, when a same sex couple is getting a divorce, there are certain matters at the forefront of the proceeding. Those issues include the following:
• Division of property: This is a matter that involves the fair and equitable division of all property during the divorce proceedings. Because division of property can be complex, it’s important for each party to retain an experienced same sex divorce attorney. While New York law recognizes same sex marriages and divorces, there are some small, subtle differences with respect to the division of property for same sex couples. A lawyer can be integral in ensuring that all property to be divided is done so equally and in a way that is fair to both parties.
• Spousal support: Same sex couples are entitled to spousal support when they get divorced, just as opposite sex married couples do. However, issues can arise, such as alimony not being tax deductible. As a result, this can create a financial hardship for the spouse who is ordered to pay spousal support. A Bronx same sex divorce attorney can help to ensure that a fair agreement is reached when it pertains to paying alimony to the other party.
• Child custody: Around 25 percent of same sex marriages result in children. As a result, there is a matter of child custody when a same sex couple chooses to go through a divorce. Overall, child custody is handled generally in the same manner in a same sex divorce as in a divorce between a straight married couple. Whether the child was conceived via in-vitro fertilization or was adopted by the couple, the court will recognize that both people are the legal parents of that child. On the other hand, if one party brought a child they had from a prior relationship into the household, child custody can become a complex matter that results in the biological parent having custody while the other is left out. However, the other party can try to seek custody. A skilled attorney can help in this area.
• Child support: Child support is another common issue in a same sex divorce that essentially coincides with a divorce between an opposite sex couple. It is also the most difficult issue in this type of divorce. In most cases, the court will take into consideration the standard of living that the couple and child experienced before the divorce. From there, it will devise a financial amount that will let the child live as similar a lifestyle as prior to the end of the marriage. Usually, the court examines all of the child’s needs to determine how much child support the custodial parent should receive from the other parent. Certain factors may play a part into how much money the support ends up being, such as any medical issues that may require ongoing treatment, clothing, food, educational expenses, general child care costs and extracurricular activities of the child. Just like with child support within an opposite sex divorce, same sex child support orders can be modified by the court if one party asks to have a hearing to change the amount of financial support. Things that can bring about a hearing include one party losing or getting a new job, having a remarkable change in their income and other issues.
If you are going through a Bronx divorce and are in a same sex marriage, it’s important to consult with an experienced same sex divorce attorney.