If you’re a part of the LGBTQ+ community, getting married is now an option for you in most western countries. Unfortunately, there are still too many parts of the world where LGBTQ+ marriages are not allowed and even frowned upon. If you’re lucky enough to reside in a country that supports all marriages and you’ve managed to get married, you can also choose to divorce at any time. However, as this type of marriage equality is fairly new, facing different kinds of divorce-related complications is certainly not uncommon. Here are some things you should be aware of if you’ve decided to end your marriage legally.
Changing Your Location
The laws regarding LGBTQ+ marriages aren’t identical everywhere. Even if two countries recognize a person’s right to get married, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to do so under the same terms in both those countries, which applies to a divorce as well. This can make moving from one country to another difficult, as it might turn out that the country you moved to doesn’t recognize your marriage at all, so, consequently, you can’t get a divorce there either. Another location-related issue that may arise is the residency requirement, meaning that, for example, you can’t divorce in the country you’ve moved to if you haven’t lived there for at least six months. In the case of Australia, you can apply for divorce if you were born there, if you’re a citizen or if you’ve been living in the country for at least 12 months and plan to continue living there. Of course, this is also something that differs from one country or state to another, so make all the necessary enquiries before you relocate or before you file for divorce.
Division of Assets
Even if you live in a country or a state where you now have the opportunity to get married and divorce, it doesn’t mean that you won’t hit certain walls when you start the divorce process. Namely, while all of the American states now allow LGBTQ+ marriages, before 2015 many of them did not. In some of the states, this can prove to be a problem for people who were together long before that. If your partner made a big purchase, e.g., a property or something else of great financial value, before 2015 and put it under their name, it’s very possible that you won’t have any rights to it in the divorce. Some judges might take into consideration that both partners invested equally into buying the item in question and they might decide to divide it equally between the spouses, but this basically comes down to the judge’s good will. Although this is merely an example, it’s crucial that you’re familiar with the laws of the country you live in or that you find somebody who does. A wise thing would be to reach out to the best specialist lawyers near you, as they can provide you with practical advice and help you go through the proceedings as quickly and effectively as possible. Whether your divorce is amicable or not, having a professional at your side should put your mind at ease and lead to an outcome you were hoping for.
When it comes to custody over children in an LGBTQ+ marriage, the laws which apply are those that also apply to traditional marriages. Nevertheless, this can also become extremely messy, primarily due to the fact that some couples had children before they were allowed to get married and adopt the child formally. So, if the spouses started their family years before their relationship was legally recognized, at which point the partner that wasn’t the biological parent couldn’t adopt the child or children, it may easily happen that the court won’t award that partner any parental rights, not even visitation. This can be devastating to the non-biological parent, but also the children. Another issue that might complicate things is the court’s presumptions concerning the mother and father roles. Marriage equality hasn’t been around long enough for the courts to be sufficiently experienced with it, which can lead to some unfairness. For example, if a person was assigned a female gender at birth and that person had a child as such, after which they began identifying as male or non-binary, the court may show some bias towards them. For these reasons, it’s essential that you put all of your differences aside when it comes to your children and custody of them. Divorces are stressful for all parties involved, but it should be both parents’ priority to make the entire process as painless as they can for their children. A good parenting plan and joint custody can take some of the pressure away from your children and you alike.
Ending a marriage is hard and it’s safe to assume that anybody who decides to go through with it has given it a lot of thought and tried their best to repair or save the relationship. If you see that things aren’t improving and you want to legally separate from your partner, make sure you get a family lawyer to represent you and guide you through this tiresome and demanding process, as they’ll also take some of the burden off you.