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LGBT-Friendly Resources for Same Sex Divorce

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision this past June to recognize same-sex marriage was celebrated by the LGBT community and beyond. With those celebrations, we saw couples running to courts around the country to get married. But that same ruling is sending other couples to courts around the country for another reason: they can finally get a same-sex divorce.

Before the Supreme Court case was settled, same-sex divorce was tricky. The laws changed depending on what state you were in. So, for example, if a same-sex couple legally married in California but moved to a state like Georgia where their marriage wasn’t recognized, the couple couldn’t actually obtain a legal divorce.

In 2008, many same-sex couples here in California rushed into marriage predicting (correctly) that Prop 8 would take away their right to legally marry. As time passed, some of those marriages may not have worked out, but for several reasons many couples were confused about their legal options and didn’t pursue divorce.

Before same-sex marriage became legal everywhere this summer, couples who wanted to divorce often had to file multiple lawsuits in order to split up their property and settle their affairs. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, couples who are ready to part ways can do so with a lot more clarity and the protections of a legal divorce, but they still need an attorney with experience working specifically in the LGBT community.

There are some confusing legal issues that can come up in a same-sex divorce and you want to make sure you are working with someone who is prepared. For example, in a same-sex divorce involving children, the same laws that would apply to a heterosexual couple regarding custody should apply. However, some courts lack the experience of working with two dads or two moms splitting up. A skilled attorney can make sure no biases end up affecting who is granted custody. Also, California courts often require that parents attempt mediation prior to litigation. Mediators are neutral third-party helpers who can work with you on custody issues or property division. A lawyer with experience in the LGBT community can connect you to mediators who are sensitive to a gay or transgender parent relationship and can help reach appropriate solutions.

You might also seek out resources to help you and your children through the emotional challenges of divorce. There are many social workers trained in dealing with the particular challenges of same-sex parents splitting up. If you can’t find someone to talk to in person, look for support groups or other resources available online. For example, the website www.fairygoodheart.com offers parenting tools and therapist resources, in the form of child-centered webisodes and games, to help when children are separated from their parents due to divorce.

Whether it involves a same-sex or heterosexual couple, divorce can be a very emotional process. But it can also be looked upon not as a failure, but as a fresh start. Many people are happier once they’re able to move on from a troubled marriage and start anew. The first step in moving on and starting again is finding the right divorce attorney with the experience to handle your unique case quickly and efficiently.

The system may be easier to navigate now that same-sex marriage is recognized, but dividing assets and custody is still a difficult process that requires a skilled divorce attorney. Lee, Green, Stewart & Paul Attorneys at Law is welcoming and experienced with all types of clients and knowledgeable in all aspects of divorce, including custody and asset division. We have guided many clients in the LGBT community through a successful separation; the first step is getting in touch with us at (626) 325-0770