Last Updated On: July 27, 2023

How Does Same-Sex Divorce Work in New York?

On July 24, 2011, the New York Marriage Equality Act passed, making New York the sixth state legalizing and issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-gender marriages came shortly thereafter in June of 2013, and, in 2015, Obergefell v. Hodges required that all states, even the 13 that were still holdouts, recognize same-sex marriages both in their own state as well as others.

But for some couples, marriage was the easy part of the puzzle. Some of those couples who have decided to divorce have discovered that there are some hurdles to same-sex divorce that they hadn’t anticipated. Despite having the same legal rights as traditional marriages, same-sex divorce lawyers are seeing some common pitfalls when it comes to the divorce court for same-sex unions. 

If you are a same-sex couple facing challenges in the process of divorcing, it is essential to seek the guidance of experienced same-sex divorce lawyers. At Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer, our New York same-sex divorce attorney, Juan Luciano, understands the complexities involved in same-sex divorce cases and can provide you with the support and representation you need. To learn more about how we can assist you with your same-sex divorce, please contact us at (212) 537-5859.

Manhattan same-sex divorce attorney

The Same Yet Different

When same-sex partners marry legally in New York or other states, a divorce is handled much the way as any other traditional divorce. Same-gender partners can seek either a contested or uncontested divorce in the state of New York under our laws. The same laws come into play regarding asset and debt division, child custody and support, and spousal support as traditional divorces. But because these unions were only recently legally recognized, many couples whose relationships spanned years prior to their official legal marriage may find that asset division and child custody will be more complicated should they choose to divorce.

Same-Sex Couples and Marital Asset Division

Same-sex divorce looks much like a traditional divorce with the same laws and rules applying. When it comes to New York’s equitable distributions laws, marital assets will be divided equitably between the couple, the same as a traditional marriage.

But marital assets are those that are acquired during the marriage. And equitable distribution is not equal but considers many factors, one of which is the length of the marriage. Consequently, for couples who have been together for a long time, pre-dating their official marriage, property, and debt division can be more tricky with same-sex divorces.

Child Custody and Same-Sex Divorce

The same complications can hold true when it comes to child custody. Typically, before same-sex marriage became legal, only one party was the legal adoptive parent of a child, even though there was an existing same-sex relationship. The same could hold true if there was a surrogate involved and when one party is the biological parent. When a couple seeks a divorce, custody arrangements can become complicated if the matter goes to court.

Non-Contested Divorce and Mediation in Same-Sex Marriages

We always believe that when a couple can come together to make or negotiate decisions outside the courtroom, they are much better off than those who end up litigating and handing over their power to the courts. Also, having a well-crafted pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement drafted can fend off many of these issues should a divorce become necessary.

Topic Same-Sex Divorce Considerations Details
Marital Asset Division Equitable distribution based on New York laws Marital assets acquired during the marriage will be divided equitably between the couple, taking into account the length of marriage
Property and Debt Division Complexities for long-term pre-marriage assets Division of property and debt can be more challenging for couples who have been together for a long time before their official marriage
Child Custody Complications in custody arrangements Child custody can become complicated when only one party is the legal adoptive or biological parent, requiring court involvement
Non-Contested Divorce Benefits of resolving issues outside the court Couples who can negotiate and make decisions outside the courtroom are better off, and pre-nuptial/post-nuptial agreements can help

Divorce Rates in Gay Marriage

While LGBT family law has granted benefits to same-sex couples, the process of divorce raises questions and considerations for gay couples. There are reports suggesting that same-sex couples experience higher levels of intimacy and happiness, resulting in a lower divorce rate compared to opposite-sex couples. However, studies indicate that despite this overall sense of happiness, same-sex couples do have a relatively high rate of separation. Research findings suggest that external factors such as family pressure, children, financial issues, and societal influences contribute to the higher breakup rate among gay couples.

Gay marriages have a high divorce rate due to their relative novelty. The attention and excitement surrounding the newfound opportunity to marry have led to a surge in same-sex marriages. It can be assumed that this statistic may change as the novelty of marriage diminishes and young, impulsive couples refrain from hasty weddings. On the other hand, data indicates that the divorce rate among gay marriages is 16%, while heterosexual couples have a divorce rate of 19%. Many studies have been conducted to understand the factors contributing to the 34% divorce rate among lesbian couples and the lower divorce rate among gay marriages, but as of yet, no definitive answers have been found.

If you’re looking to end your same-sex marriage, a New York same-sex divorce attorney can offer essential legal advice and assistance. At the Law Offices of Juan Luciano Divorce Lawyer, our attorneys have experience in family law, enabling them to navigate the specific challenges and complexities that may arise during the divorce process for gay couples. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and receive personalized support tailored to your specific circumstances.

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