Connecticut Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers
Going through a divorce is never easy. No different than heterosexual couples, many LGBTQ marriages end in divorce. While it is far from rare—approximately half of all marriages end in separation—there are a lot of legal, logistical, and personal challenges. For same-sex couples, divorce can be especially complicated. Although there are plenty of similarities, LGBTQ couples can also face some unique issues when going through a divorce.
At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, our New Canaan divorce attorneys are skilled, solutions-focused advocates for our clients. We have the knowledge and experience to handle the unique issues facing same-sex couples.
If you are preparing for a divorce, we are more than ready to help. For a strictly confidential initial consultation with a top-rated Connecticut divorce lawyer, please call our New Canaan law office or connect with us directly through our website.
A Brief History Of Same-Sex Marriage In Connecticut
In 2008, the Connecticut Supreme Court in Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, 289 Conn. 135, 957 A.2d 407, ruled that allowing same-sex couples to form same-sex unions but not marriages violated the Connecticut Constitution. In a 4 to 3 decision, the state's highest court invalidated the laws that barred same-sex couples from getting married.
With that landmark ruling, Connecticut became the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to legalize same-sex marriages. All existing civil unions in Connecticut were officially recognized as marriages in October 2010.
It took some time for the rest of the country to catch up. Years later, with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015, same-sex couples are permitted to marry on the federal level.
No longer does the law, at either the state level or the federal level, make any distinction between marriages based on the sex of the partners. Same-sex couples have the same legal right to get married as heterosexual couples.
We Provide Comprehensive Divorce Representation To Clients In Fairfield County
It is important to emphasize that LGBTQ divorces and heterosexual divorces share more similarities than differences. The state's divorce laws are the same and the requirements are the same. Further, the core issues that need to be resolved before a marital separation can be finalized are also similar.
At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, our Connecticut divorce attorneys are committed to providing truly comprehensive legal representation to our clients. Among other things, we have experience with:
- Property Division: For same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, property division tends to be one of the most contentious in a divorce case. Connecticut is an “equitable distribution” state. In effect, this means that a divorcing couple's property, assets, and liabilities are divided “fairly”—not necessarily evenly. Our New Canaan, CT same-sex divorce lawyers have experience handling complex property division matters, including in high net worth divorce cases. Call us now for immediate assistance.
- Spousal Support (Alimony): Known by the names spousal support, alimony, and spousal maintenance, these post-separation payments may be an issue in same-sex divorce cases. The financially disadvantaged spouse may have an obligation to pay some form of ongoing support to their former partner. Alimony can be especially complicated in same-sex divorces cases. If you have any questions about your rights, our Connecticut same-sex divorce lawyers are here to help.
- Child Custody & Visitation: For LGBTQ parents going through a divorce, custody & visitation is important. Connecticut is a “best interests of the child” state. Any custody dispute will be resolved with attention to what is best for the health, safety, well-being, and social development of the kid. If you have any questions about your rights, please do not hesitate to contact our New Canaan, CT child custody lawyers for help.
- Child Support: The parent who does not have primary physical custody (possession) of the child may be required to pay child support. Although Connecticut has pre-set child support guidelines on the books, these guidelines can be deviated from in certain circumstances. If you are going through a same-sex divorce and you have any questions about child support, contact our New Canaan family law attorneys for immediate assistance.
As noted previously, same-sex divorce cases share a lot of similarities with opposite-sex divorce cases. That being said, it is also important to highlight the differences between these two types of divorce.
With the basic rules and issues are the same, the history of discriminatory laws that banned same-sex marriage has also created some unique challenges for same-sex couples. A family lawyer with experience handling complex same-sex divorce cases will protect your rights.
Unique Custody Issues That May Arise In Same-Sex Divorces
Connecticut's recognition of the right to marry in 2008, followed by the U.S. Supreme Court's affirmation of the right to marry in 2015, opened the doors for countless couples nationwide to have their commitment to one another formally and legally recognized.
The same rights also allow the option for those couples to divorce one another, as well. While all couples now have the same legal rights and obligations, same-sex couples often find themselves facing challenges unique to their situation.
Perhaps most notably, same-sex divorces may involve unique child custody issues where the parents have not taken the legal steps needed to ensure that both parents have full legal parental rights, for example, by formally adopting a child. In situations where a same-sex couple has adopted a child together, each parent will naturally have rights with respect to custody and parenting time.
However, in situations where one parent is the biological parent of a child and the other parent has not formally adopted the child. Courts cannot award parenting rights to the non-biological parent.
The court can award parenting time to a non-biological parent provided that there is a “parent-like relationship” between the non-biological parent and the child and a lack of ongoing contact would be harmful to the child.
How exactly any child custody case will proceed in a same-sex divorce depends on the legal relationship between each parent and the child(ren). If all children were legally adopted by the non-biological parent, then parents have equal rights under the law.
If a child was not formally adopted, the non-biological parent faces some additional challenges. For more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Connecticut same-sex custody divorce lawyers.
Unique Alimony and Property Division Considerations that may Arise in Same-Sex Divorces
While Connecticut legally recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry in 2008, many same-sex couples have been together much longer than this – married in all but name. Their 2010 “marriage date” is not reflective of the years that they may have spent supporting one another or making important decisions together. Such a scenario presents complex and nuanced considerations for resolving the issues of equitable distribution and alimony in such matters.
This is because under Connecticut statutory law courts are required to consider "the length of the marriage" when entering orders regarding both property division and alimony. In such instances, having an experienced same-sex divorce lawyer on your side is critical to ensure that your financial rights are protected.
If you were with your partner prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Connecticut and you have questions about the potential impact on alimony and/or property division, please contact our New Canaan LGBTQ divorce attorneys for immediate help.
You Can Rely On Our New Canaan CT Same-Sex Divorce Attorneys
Divorce in Connecticut is complicated. You do not have to go through the entire legal process on your own. At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, we are driven to provide the highest level of legal representation to our clients. Among other things, our New Canaan same-sex divorce lawyers are prepared to:
- Answer questions and explain your options during a confidential review of your case
- Gather information and take care of all of the divorce paperwork
- Represent you in settlement discussions, potentially including divorce mediation
- Devise a personalized strategy focused on getting you the best outcome
Every marriage is different. We will put in the time, legal resources, and attention to the smallest of details to ensure that you get the high-level representation that you deserve. With experience handling LGBTQ divorce cases and testimonials and recommendations from former clients, you can trust our law firm for results.
Connect With One Of Our Experienced Connecticut Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers Today
At The Family Law Firm Healy Eliot + McCann, our New Canaan divorce and family law attorneys are extremely knowledgeable about the unique parenting and financial issues that may arise in same same-sex divorces and can help ensure that your custodial and financial rights are protected. If you have any questions about your rights or your case, we are here to get you answers.
To schedule a no-obligation and in-person or virtual appointment with one of our Connecticut same-sex divorce lawyers in New Canaan, please call 203-652-8018 or complete our online contact form. We provide family law services throughout Fairfield County, including in Bridgeport, Stamford, Greenwich, Norwalk, Danbury. Fairfield, Shelton, Stratford, Monroe, Bethel, Ridgefield, and Newtown.