Tips for Choosing the Right Same-Sex Divorce Attorney
If you and your partner have chosen to separate, you might be feeling a variety of emotions: anger, frustration, sadness, confusion. Not only will your relationship with your spouse change, but you’ll also need to divide your assets, determine who will receive custody of any children, and make support payment arrangements. If you’ve never dealt with a legal situation before, you may also be wondering how you can file the appropriate paperwork and what it takes to start the process of separating from your partner. The right attorney can help you every step of the way. If you’re ready to start looking for a same-sex divorce attorney who understands your unique situation, there are a few things you need to know.
Choose Someone With Experience
First off, look for an attorney who has experience with LGBTQ couples. Because your situation is unique, it’s important to choose someone who is familiar with the issues and societal expectations of a same-sex couple. Many divorce attorneys who are understanding of the unique issues facing same-sex couples will note this on their websites or company biographies. This is a good place to start your search for an attorney who can help you specifically.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Finding an attorney you feel comfortable with can take some time, so speak up. If you’re confused about something or want to know more about a particular issue, go ahead and ask. You may be able to ask attorneys questions about their fees, payment plans, scheduling, and appointment options over the phone or via email. Asking questions is a good way to help you find an attorney you’re comfortable working with.
Schedule a Consultation
You’ll want to call your attorney to schedule an initial consultation. This will give you a good chance to explain your personal situation, the circumstances of your divorce, and your concerns regarding the separation. It’s normal to have some fears or things that make you uncomfortable, and your consultation will give you a chance to discuss these issues with your attorney. Remember that no two lawyers are alike, so it’s important to find one that you trust and feel you can be honest with. Your attorney needs to know as much information as possible about your divorce so that they can give you the best advice for moving forward.
Ask About Documentation
Make sure you provide documentation when you meet with your attorney. If you and your partner have children and need to arrange child support payments or you suspect one of you may pay alimony after the divorce, you may need to provide proof of income and living expenses. You should also make sure to speak with your lawyer about any other documentation or paperwork that is required for the divorce to proceed.
Discuss Separation Terms
In some states, partners may be required to legally separate for a specific period of time before the divorce can take place. Your attorney can also let you know if this applies to your particular situation. It’s vital that you meet with an attorney at the beginning of your separation so this can be legally documented. Some couples physically separate for a period of time only to discover they must be legally separated before they are eligible to apply for a divorce.
If you’re ready to separate from your spouse, get the help you need. Reach out to a Manhattan same-sex divorce attorney who can guide you through the divorce process. Your attorney will help you understand your rights and obligations. If you have children, they’ll discuss custody options and let you know what steps you need to take to move forward. The guidance of an attorney is an essential part of getting a divorce and will ensure you have the most positive experience possible as you and your partner choose to end your relationship.
When same sex couples in New York, and across the United States, gained the right to wed, the encountered a companion obligation to obtain a formal divorce if the marriage did not work out. If you are in a same sex marriage, and you have reached the juncture at which you have decided to end your marriage, you undoubtedly have a myriad of questions.
The first step that you should consider taking if you are in need of a divorce is to contact a qualified, experienced Manhattan same sex divorce lawyer. The reality is that the same laws pertain to opposite and same sex couples in New York in need of a divorce. However, not all attorneys have the same level of experience necessary to work with a spouse in a sex same marriage in need of divorce.
You can begin the process of retaining a skilled, tenacious same sex divorce lawyer by scheduling an initial consultation. As a normal matter of practice, a same sex divorce lawyer does not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client.
During an initial consultation, you will obtain an overview of applicable divorce law. The attorney will provide an overview and evaluation of your case, including noting what you can and cannot reasonable expect during the course of marriage dissolution proceedings. You will also have an opportunity to raise any questions you might have about your case.
Property Division in a Same Sex Divorce
The rules governing property division in a New York divorce are the same no matter the sex of the spouses in a marriage. New York utilizes what is know as the equitable division or distribution of property standard.
Pursuant to the equitable distribution standard, the assets and debts accumulated during the course of a marriage are divided in way that is deemed just and equitable under the circumstances. The division need not be equal. In fact, it probably will not be.
The equitable division standard is what is used in the vast majority of states. About a dozen states utilized the community property standard. The best known of these states if probably California. Through the community property standard, the presumption is that the assets and debts of a marriage are to be distributed equally.
A key factor in some divorce cases is determining what is and is not a marital asset or debt. Only marital assets are subject to distribution in a divorce proceeding. Non-marital assets and debts remain with the spouse to which they belonged before the marriage. In addition, if one spouse inherits property during the marriage, that is also likely not be included in the divorce as a marital asset.
Child Custody and Visitation in a Same Sex Divorce
As is the case with the assets and debts accumulated during the marriage, there is no distinction between a same sex or opposite sex marriage when it comes to the laws dealing with custody and visitation. The same laws and judicial or legal standard applies in any type of New York marriage termination proceeding.
The state of New York utilizes the best interests of the child standard in making determinations in regard to child custody and visitation. The standard requires the court to closely examine the facts and circumstances of a particular case. The court considers such factors as the mental, physical, and emotional health of the parties. The court may also look at the living situation or environment of each parent. In addition, the court may consider which of the parents historically has served as the primary caretaker of the child or children.