Gay and lesbian couples, whether legally married or not, may ultimately wish to end their relationships. Whether separation or divorce ends your relationship, there may be complicated property and child custody issues that arise. The legal landscape of separation and/or divorce for gay and lesbian couples is more complicated than before. Some couples have married and acquired property and had children without the benefit of legal counsel or any written agreements. Unfortunately statutory family law that governs separation of property and child custody doesn’t generally apply to same-sex, married couples in the same way that they apply to different-sex married couples. A knowledgeable LGBT attorney can help answer your questions regarding property rights, child support and child custody.
When a relationship ends and no protective documents are in place to protect each parties’ property, litigation is sometimes the only option to protect those assets which are a substantial part of your financial security. Legal theories such as implied contract, resulting or constructive trusts and unjust enrichment may allow you to recover assets you thought were lost. Our firm can provide you with a skilled advocate, experienced in settlement negotiations, mediation and litigation to assist you with this process.
Custody and Child Support Disputes
If you have children from a prior marriage, you may face special issues if a custody dispute arises with your former spouse. A lawyer experienced with LGBT issues can skillfully guide you through the difficult negotiations or domestic proceedings that result.
If you have helped to raise the biological or adopted children of an ex-partner and either custody and parenting agreements were prepared, or you developed a significant psychological bond with the children, avenues may be available that will allow you to maintain contact with the children, even if your ex-partner indicates an unwillingness to continue to co-parent. A consultation with one of our attorneys can help you determine what avenues may be available and how best to handle such difficult circumstances.
Surviving Death of Partner
If your partner dies without a valid will, it is legally possible for other members of your partner’s family to claim and distribute the property you both shared. Family conflicts with a surviving partner can be painful and complex. Our firm has extensive experience with estate disputes of this nature. Please call us for a consultation if you anticipate such a dispute with family members.