Connecticut Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers
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. With that landmark ruling, Connecticut became the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to legalize same-sex marriages. Thereafter, all existing civil unions in Connecticut were officially recognized as marriages in October 2010. 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.
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 – and to 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.
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 – and 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.
Connect with One of Our Experienced Connecticut Same-Sex Divorce Lawyers Today
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. To schedule an 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.