Family Law Issues For Same Sex Couples
In December 2012, Washington state legalized same-sex marriage, and in 2013 the federal government recognized such marriages. For gay and lesbian couples who chose to make it official, this change provided not only relief and acceptance, but also previously unavailable legal rights and protections.
As a natural extension, same-sex partners who were married in Washington (or in another state that sanctioned gay marriage) are now subject to the same laws as anyone else when they dissolve their marriage.
The law firm of Alpine Family Law welcomes LGBTQ clients in both King County and Snohomish County. We represent individuals in LGBTQ divorce and all related issues of family law. We encourage you to call us today to discuss your specific case.
Complicating Factors In Gay Or Lesbian Divorce
Under the same-sex marriage legislation, existing domestic partnerships will have been converted to marriage on June 30, 2014, unless the couple marries earlier or dissolves the partnership. Once a same-sex couple is legally married, they are governed by all the normal statutes with regard to divorce, division of marital property, financial support and custody and parenting matters.
However, there may be gray areas for LGBTQ couples and parents, such as:
- Property acquired between 2007 and 2012 under a domestic partnership
- Property acquired together pre-2007 (before domestic partnerships)
- Child custody rights of a nonbiological parent
- Spousal maintenance (i.e., length of the marriage)
- Tax liabilities predating federal recognition of same-sex marriage
- Dissolution of an existing domestic partnership
We are prepared to litigate if necessary to protect clients' financial interests and parental rights in these disputes.
Experienced Counsel in Divorce and Family Law
First and foremost, we are experienced and compassionate lawyers who will faithfully protect your interests in or out of court. Our firm has focused exclusively in family law since 1986. We strive to stay up-to-date with the law and legal precedents so that we can help clients move forward with confidence during this difficult time.
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