It’s been nearly eight years since Nevada legalized marriage for LGBTQIA+ couples. All married couples are now supposed to have the same rights. Does that mean divorce for LGBTQIA+ couples is the same as well?
While the legal requirements and procedures for divorce are identical, some complicating factors give rise to added challenges for LGBTQIA+ couples. If you are considering divorce, you and your divorce attorney need to understand the potential difficulties and how to protect your interests.
Identifying and Dividing Property
When any couple builds a life together, they acquire property, they take on debts, and one or both will be earning money. These assets and debts accumulated during a marriage are generally considered to be joint marital property. At the time of divorce, the marital assets and debts are divided up as community property. A couple has the option to come up with their own arrangement for dividing property, and if they are unable to reach an agreement, the court will split up assets and debts.
The added complication for LGBTQIA+ couples is that it can be difficult to ascertain the right start date for the marriage. If the couple did not start living together until after the date Nevada legalized LGBTQIA+ marriage, then their marriage date is truly the start of the acquisition of marital property and debt. But some couples married in another state that did recognize their marriage and then moved to Nevada, which at that time, did not.
If you and your partner have a valid pre- or postnuptial agreement, that document should guide how your property is identified and divided in divorce. If not, however, make sure your divorce attorney has all the necessary information and evidence to build a solid argument in favor of your position on the start date of the marriage.
Other Potential Problems for LGBTQIA+ Couples in Divorce
Spousal support or alimony is often determined based on the length of a marriage, so the same problem with establishing an equitable start date for the marriage also affects alimony decisions. If you are seeking support from your soon-to-be ex, it is a good idea to put together information to show how you set aside career interests to focus on home life and the sacrifices you made so that your spouse could earn money for the family.
If your relationship includes children, parental rights could be an issue. A partner who has not formally adopted a child and who is not biologically related to the child could end up with no legal connection to that child. Talk to your attorney as soon as possible to find out what your legal rights are currently and how to secure additional rights, if possible.
Work with Divorce Attorneys Ready to Help You Overcome the Difficulties with LGBTQIA+ Divorce
The challenges you face in divorce can seem overwhelming at times. Advice and guidance from an experienced legal team can make all the difference in the process, as well as the outcome. At Naimi & Cerceo, we have the knowledge and experience to anticipate potential difficulties in LGBTQIA+ divorce and we will develop the right strategy to protect your interests at all times. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.