Couples going through a divorce experience a unique set of circumstances that makes each proceeding different. Although certain issues that arise in any type of divorce are similar, same-sex couples ending their marriages may have additional considerations to contemplate, especially if they are going through a late-life divorce after spending most of their relationship unable to officially marry. The Nashville divorce lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC understand the nuances that accompany settling same-sex divorces. We represent each client with compassion and vast experience, making sure to advocate in their best interests throughout the duration of the proceedings. If you have questions regarding your rights and options while you are considering a divorce, contact our office today to learn more about our legal services and how we can help.
Issues That Often Arise in Same-Sex Divorces
As stated, most same-sex divorces are carried out in the same manner as any other kind of divorce. However, there may be additional unique circumstances due to some couples have lived together for years before the legal protections of marriage were recognized. For instance, dividing a couple’s assets can become more complicated, since pre-marital property may have been held by only one of the spouses but viewed as jointly owned. However, it technically still qualifies as separate property rather than marital in the eyes of the law because it was acquired before the marriage. As a result, additional care must be taken to ensure that an equitable outcome is reached in the divorce proceedings, including:
Custody determinations in situations in which only one parent is the biological mother or father of a minor child.
The classification of any pre-marital joint banking accounts or investments.
Spousal support considerations regarding any contractual holdings obtained before the marriage.
The timing and status of a family home purchase. Usually, if a home is purchased in Tennessee during the course of a marriage, it is considered marital property, even if only one spouse is named on the deed. However, if a same-sex couple purchased a house prior to being allowed to legally marry, and there is a disagreement regarding ownership, courts must make a decision regarding the property’s status, as well as who retains the residence.
Premarital contracts, which must be analyzed with regard to whether or not these can be considered pre-nuptial agreements.
The existence of a domestic partnership before marriage was an option may also be considered in determining whether the property should be considered a marital asset. Since this area of family law is relatively new, attorneys must be careful in crafting arguments, and close attention to detail as well as extensive legal research is often necessary. Sometimes other areas of law, such as contract law, must be investigated to address key issues involved in a same-sex divorce. Consulting a well-rounded and knowledgeable divorce attorney is important to make sure that your best interests are served throughout the divorce process.
Our Attorneys Represent Same-Sex Couples in Divorce
Divorces are emotional and stressful processes, compounded by additional burdens when a same-sex couple’s marriage was not recognized throughout its entirety. They may need to reach decisions regarding sensitive issues such as rights to custody or visitation involving a minor child, and this means that a spouse’s situation may become more complicated. The lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC offer seasoned legal representation to clients in the midst of divorce proceedings, as well as people who need guidance when contemplating a separation. We understand the unique issues that same-sex couples face when deciding to end a marriage, and we are dedicated to making sure that the proceedings are as fair as possible.
If you need legal assistance with a same-sex divorce, or with any other family law matter, contact our offices in Nashville and Springfield today for more information.