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When couples get married, the last thing on their minds is getting divorced. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that probably half of all couples getting married will get divorced. While these situations can be complicated for couples of the opposite sex, they can be even more complex for same-sex couples. While the Marriage Equality Act passed in 2011 granted same-sex couples many of the same rights given to opposite-sex couples, there are still some aspects of these divorces that can be hard for those involved to understand. Because of this, it’s imperative for these couples to utilize the services of an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in the area of same-sex divorces.
Obligations Associated with these Divorces
When a same-sex couple chooses to divorce, there are a variety of legal obligations both individuals must abide by. Just like traditional marriages, one spouse may be required to pay spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, to the other spouse if ordered to so by the court. Along with this, property obtained by the couple during the marriage will be distributed equally by the court, as will any debts incurred by the couple during their marriage. However, it’s important to note that if one spouse obtains debts during the marriage that are deemed to be for non-marital purposes, they will likely be held solely responsible for those debts. As for any debts incurred prior to the marriage, only the spouse who incurred those debts is held legally responsible. Additional information about the Marriage Equality Act and the requirements of spouses can be found at www.nysdivorcelawyer.net.
According to same-sex marriage statistics, about 25 percent of same-sex couples who are married have children as part of their family. Because of the Marriage Equality Act, Child Custody laws concerning these couples is much the same as they are for heterosexual couples. For children who were adopted by the couple or conceived through in-vitro fertilization, New York state will likely recognize both spouses as the legal parents of the children. However, in situations where one spouse brings a child from a previous relationship into the marriage, Child Custody can become very complex, since other parties may be involved. In these situations, it’s crucial to work with an attorney who has dealt with same-sex couple divorces and custody issues in the past, since they will have the experience and knowledge needed to navigate the complexities that accompany these cases.
Much like Child Custody in these cases, Property Division can also be complex. While New York laws do cover many aspects of property division among same-sex couples, problems can ensue when it comes to such issues as dividing pensions, 401(k) plans, and how the division of property will affect the couple’s federal taxes. As an example, opposite-sex couples are allowed to divide retirement accounts and pensions without initiating early withdrawal fees and taxes, but same-sex couples cannot take advantage of these benefits. In addition, heterosexual couples avoid capital gains taxes when they divide property, but same-sex couples do not. More details on this topic can be found at www.divorcelawfirmnewyork.com.
As stated earlier, when same-sex couples divorce, one spouse may be ordered by the court to pay spousal maintenance to the other spouse to assist with living expenses and possibly child support. However, as with other financial issues in these situations, a number of complexities may occur. For example, since federal law states that spousal maintenance is not tax deductible, it can pose potential financial hardships on the spouse required to make the payments. It’s also important to note that spousal maintenance payments are viewed by the federal government as capital gains or gifts, which makes them subject to federal taxes. Because of this, it’s important to work closely with a divorce lawyer experienced in same-sex divorce cases, since they will possess the knowledge and experience needed to help clients understand the potential financial consequences they may encounter.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you find yourself part of a same-sex couple who has decided to part ways and seek a divorce, it’s extremely important to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. By doing so, you’ll be able to not only discuss your case in great detail, but also learn about the many complexities that go along with these cases. While many details are similar to those encountered by heterosexual couples, knowing the differences that exist in same-sex divorces can allow you to make informed decisions regarding a number of issues.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in New York State in July of 2011. If you are one of the individuals who has entered into a same-sex marriage since then and if you are now thinking about a divorce, you could be wondering what to do. Just as there might have been added challenges involved in getting married in the first place, you might be concerned that there will be additional concerns for you to worry about when getting divorced.
Of course, any divorce lawyer in New York should be able to help you with your divorce. However, choosing an attorney who has experience in handling same-sex divorces in NYC might be the better idea. These are a few reasons why.
For one thing, as someone who is involved in a same-sex marriage, you might have unfortunately encountered judgement and other issues since you have been in your relationship. The last thing that you want to worry about when working with a lawyer and going through a divorce is feeling as if you are being judged for being involved in a same-sex relationship.
If you choose an attorney who doesn’t regularly handle these cases, then this might be something that you have to worry about. If you choose a lawyer who regularly works with individuals in same-sex marriages, though, you will not have to worry as much about being judged or looked at in a different manner from all of the other clients. This can help you feel more comfortable and help you feel as if you’re getting better legal representation, both of which are very important when you’re going through something that is this serious and important.
Get Help With Civil Union Dissolutions
Even though same-sex marriage has been legal in New York for several years now, you and your partner might not have ever gotten legally married. For example, the two of you might have formed a civil union in the days when same-sex marriage was not yet legal.
If you are involved in a civil union and not a same-sex marriage, you may still have a lot of concerns that someone who is getting a divorce might have. You might be concerned about the division of the property that you and your partner have accumulated during your relationship, and you might need help with child custody matters.
A lawyer who has experience in helping individuals in same-sex relationships should have experience with civil unions and should be able to help you through the process. Civil unions might not be an area of expertise for attorneys who don’t work with same-sex couples very often.
Get Assistance with Matters Related to Children
You and your spouse or partner might have children in your relationship. They might have been adopted, or they might have been biologically conceived. You could be concerned that there will be additional things for you to worry about in regards to child custody and child support when you’re going through a same-sex divorce. A NYC same-sex divorce lawyer who has experience in working with same-sex couples can help fight for your rights as a parent, even if you are not the biological parent of your children.
Make Sure Assets are Distributed Fairly
Because same-sex marriages are still relatively new in New York, matters can sometimes be more complicated when it comes to the assets that are involved in same-sex marriages. For example, if you and your now-spouse were living together as a married couple long before same-sex marriages were legalized in New York, then matters can be complicated when it comes to determining who gets what asset in your marriage.
These matters can get messy in any divorce, but they can be even messier in this type of situation. It is important to fight for what is legally and rightfully yours, though. To avoid losing the material possessions that are most important to you, it’s essential to work with a skilled and experienced NYC same-sex divorce lawyer.
As you might realize, there are some additional concerns that those who are getting divorced in a same-sex marriage do have to worry about that other couples might not have to stress over. Of course, hiring the right team of NYC same-sex divorce lawyers to help with your case will make a big difference. Then, you can get help with your divorce or with the dissolution of your civil union so that you can work toward moving on with your life.
NYC Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers
The Marriage Equality Act of 2011 brought same-sex marriages into the mainstream for the state of NY. Since then, many same-sex couples have happily entered into the institution of marriage to begin their journey through life together. Although marriage equality is a good thing, newly married same sex couples are also subject to the negative aspects of marriage, such as separation and divorce. Same-sex couples also have special complications when moving out of state, or establishing rights to property outside of New York. Due to this, it is best to consult an experienced legal team, like Spodek Law Group, to ensure your marriage is initiated or resolved in the best possible manner.
Why You Should Seek Pre-Marital Advice
Same-sex and heterosexual couples alike are best served by seeking out legal advice prior to entering a marriage. Gay marriages, in particular, can benefit from a unique take on traditional legal rights to address particular needs which may arise. One of the most important issues to resolve prior to marriage is that of pre-marital agreements, or pre-nuptials.
There are particular difficulties in creating valid pre-marital agreements for same-sex couples. Since many states still refuse to honor gay marriages, or are unclear on their approach to same-sex marriages, problems can easily arise when a couple or spouse move out of state. Couples in this situation, who do not have a valid pre-marital agreement will be forced to rely on another state’s law to resolve the property distribution at divorce. Allowing this to happen creates a quagmire of problems, and will often result in a property distribution that the couple never intended. Creating a legal New York pre-marital agreement at the very start will avoid an onerous divorce process.
Pre-marital agreements aren’t just important to safeguard property in the unfortunate event of divorce. They are also important to cover the distribution of property in the event one party pre-deceases the other. A prenuptial can make certain arrangements for property and debts to ensure that the surviving spouse remains financially sound.
As alluded to above, many U.S. jurisdictions are in a state of uncertainty when it comes to same-sex marriage. Due to this, it is a good idea for gay or lesbian couples to receive legal counsel prior to marriage to fully understand the legal landscape regarding gay marriage in the U.S. Doing so will allow you to make an informed decision regarding what is perhaps the most important event of your life.
Same-sex Divorce in NY
Although NY state marital dissolution are subject to the same laws as that applicable for heterosexual couples, they often require a specialized approach. As far as the basic divorce process goes, you can qualify for a divorce proceeding in NY regardless if you were married here or in another state. The first step to beginning a divorce is to prove that you have resided in the state of NY for a minimum of one year. As long as you meet this qualification, you and your partner will be able to proceed with a same-sex divorce in New York.
Another consideration in same-sex divorces is that any previous legal relationships must also be terminated at the same time. Many gay couples have previously entered into civil unions or domestic partnerships in states which allow such legal unions. If such a couple is later married, they will essentially have two legal unions in effect. Thus, at divorce it is necessary to dissolve both unions to effectuate a true divorce. Spodek Law Group, is a NYC same-sex divorce law firm, and is competent to handle same-sex divorces in a thorough, yet compassionate manner.
If one or both spouses in a same-sex relationship have children, there are also many considerations in relation to child custody. A spouse in a same-sex marriage will need legal help to obtain sole or joint custody of a child, or establish visitation rights. Reliable legal help is also needed to set up child and spousal support and other related issues.
Perhaps the main need for an attorney in a same-sex divorce is to assist with the equitable distribution of marital property. This process can be rather complicated since many same-sex couples have lived together for years before having the ability to become legally married. Thus, many couples have co-mingled property for many years prior to the marriage, and a divorce requires much sorting out. This type of complex process is best handled by a competent legal team.
Again, if one or both parties have property in other states, specialized legal advice will be required to ensure a fair distribution occurs. The attorneys at Spodek Law Group provide an invaluable service for people going through this difficult process.
The Benefits Of Hiring An NYC Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer
Same-sex divorces are relatively new, and require a keen sense of the legal considerations and possible repercussions. Spodek Law Group can handle even the most complicated same-sex issues to make sure that the divorce is settled as the parties desire. The emotional and psychological toll of divorce is hard enough; leave the legal problems to a law firm that is adept at handling them.