Same-Sex Divorce Attorneys in Waterford, Michigan
In the wake of two recent United States Supreme Court decisions, Obergefell v Hodges and United States v Windsor, marriage equality has become a fundamental constitutional right. Accordingly, many same-sex couples have wed in the months since these landmark cases were decided by the SCOTUS.
A 2012 census estimates there are approximately 650,000 same-sex couples sprinkled throughout the nation. There are about 1050 federal laws that involve some form of benefit or status bestowed upon married couples.
Given the newfound right to wed, some same-sex couples sadly are already calling it quits in light of irreconcilable differences. Our Waterford & Clarkston same-sex divorce lawyers have experience in negotiating equitable settlements in such circumstances.
Same-Sex Divorce Proceedings
When a same-sex couple divorces, they now face the same issues as a traditional family: child custody, a parenting plan for when one household becomes two, child and spousal support concerns, and an equitable property division. Because the constitutional right to wed was only very recently recognized by the SCOTUS, same-sex couples have deployed a variety of legal “workarounds” when structuring their family units over the past several decades.
These “workarounds” could complicate same-sex divorce proceedings over the next decade. For example, until now, prenuptial agreements were not recognized when executed by a same-sex couple because an intimate [unmarried] relationship could not provide the basis for an enforceable contract.
Another example is how same-sex couples acquired children, which is usually through adoption. In a traditional marriage, child support obligations were present in divorces involving minor children. For same-sex couples, support issues arose in the adoption context; now, this issue can be resolved with a more conventional analysis.
Until now, same-sex couples had no rights as a survivor to their partner’s social security benefits, COBRA health insurance coverage, pension, 401(k) plan, veteran’s benefits or other similar benefits. Now, in the wake of the SCOTUS recognition of same-sex marriage, a divorcing partner will have access to these rights and benefits.
Like federal laws, the laws here in the State of Michigan also provide a constellation of benefits for married couples. Within the scope of those legislated benefits is the right to the protection of children and families; now those rights under law attach to same-sex married couples.
Despite the undisputed gains from the High Court’s recognition of marital equality, the law regarding same-sex families is changing rapidly; this area is highly uncertain and complex. One of the more cutting-edge areas to be addressed is the newfound freedom of same-sex couples to execute prenuptial agreements [which are now enforceable] and estate plans as a married couple.
Not all same-sex couples will wed, even in light of the above-referenced SCOTUS decisions. When an un-wed same-sex couple acquires children, either through surrogacy or adoption, one parent usually has no biological connection to the child. If such a couple breaks up, legal issues involving custody and parenting time will be present.
A Waterford & Clarkston Same-Sex Divorce Lawyer Can Assist
If you or a loved one face some of the issues involved in a same-sex divorce, consider giving Clarkston Legal a call to discuss your options.