Same-sex couples, who fought for their right to marry leading up to the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, may find that there are some added hurdles when it comes to seeking a divorce.
What circumstances create issues for same-sex divorces?
If you are a Louisiana resident, you have the right to a divorce. Despite this, same-sex divorces have circumstances that can create complications when it comes to divorce:
- The length of the marriage: The amount of time a marriage lasted is incredibly important when a court decides how to divide assets, arrange spousal support, and organize child custody. For the many couples whose out-of-state marriages weren’t recognized, or cohabitated for years before the Obergefell decision, these timelines may not be acknowledged in a Louisiana court. Much of the court’s ruling is up to the discretion of a judge who may honor the real timeline of a relationship, despite there being no clearly defined legal basis.
- Civil unions and domestic partnerships: Many couples who had no access to marriage sought civil unions or domestic partnerships instead. These couples may find that though the designations offer similar legal entitlements as a marriage, Louisiana doesn’t recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. This discrepancy may lead to issues with the legal dissolution of a civil union or domestic partnership in a Louisiana court.
- Child custody: Though courts, as a general rule, are tasked with pursuing the best interests of the child, there is much legal subjectivity here. A judge should consider who raised the child, but there may be more complexities that arise from biological lineage, adoption, and the amount of time the couple was together while raising a child or children.
Pursuing a new life for your family
A divorce is not a failure of you and your spouse. As couples grow apart, it is most vital that you make the best decisions for your children. Given the relatively new legal framework for same-sex couple divorces, it would be best to find a lawyer skilled in both family law and the intricacies of same-sex divorces. Though this might be a challenging period for your family, make this next chapter of your life better than the last.