Priscilla Seaborg,
Attorney at Law

What aspects are different in a same-sex divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2018 | Firm News |

In 2014, Oregon chose to lift the ban on same-sex marriage in the state, finally giving many couples the chance to be with the person they love. A year later, this freedom spread throughout the entire nation. Thousands of gay and lesbian couples rejoiced at this new development in their country and began wedding plans.

Unfortunately, this does not change the fact that not all relationships will last. While same-sex couples are still bound by the same laws and procedures a heterosexual couple would go through during separation, there are a couple of parts of the process that happen differently. Some areas are more tedious while others are slightly more lenient. Regardless, you should be aware of some of these differences before going into litigation or mediation.

Asset division

Despite Oregon beating the country in granting same-sex freedom by one year, the courts are still adjusting to some parts of the process. In 2008, the state allowed same-sex couples to have domestic partnerships, which was the closest you could get to marriage before it was legal.

Currently, same-sex couples that tied the knot in the Beaver State right when it became legal have 4 years of marriage at most. Compared to several couples, that does not appear long. However, the couple could have also been together for a decade prior to the divorce but could not marry due to the ban. Many state courts in the nation are having a difficult time determining how much the length of a same-sex couple’s relationship will impact the property division. Given that Oregon is not a community property state, expect this part to be highly complicated.

Child custody

Individual partners that had a child prior to a marriage or the couple’s relationship often receive sole custody of the kid. The nonlegal parent will have a difficult time trying to convince the court to retain some time with the child unless they prove that the kid will need both parents going forward. While this issue applies to all parents regardless of their sexuality, it is highly present with same-sex couples given how long they could have the child for before marriage. Some adoption facilities prevent same-sex couple adoption to those not married.

If the couple adopted after marriage, they might have a higher chance of obtaining joint custody than heterosexual parents. Studies show that fathers in Oregon are most likely to retain 28.7 percent of the custody time with their child. Since both spouses of a same-sex marriage are the same gender, there is no inherent bias against one party. Both individuals will be fairly judged for their parental qualities and financial assets for the child.

Whether you are separating from a marriage, domestic partnership or both, you need someone to help you stay on top of your tasks so you can start the next part of your life on the right foot. An experienced divorce attorney can help you know what to expect in the process and what you could do to get the most out of your asset division and child custody.