Two broken golden wedding rings divorce decree document

Issues in Same-Sex Divorces 

E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law Oct. 25, 2022

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, gay couples who are married have similar divorce rights just as straight couples. However, various issues may arise during the divorce proceedings, including determining property, spousal support, and parental rights.  

In addition, same-sex couples may find it difficult to determine when the marital relationship actually started. A well-informed Virginia family law attorney can inform you about some of the common issues in same-sex divorces and help you make intelligent decisions.  

E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law, intends to provide experienced legal counsel and reliable advocacy to gay couples in same-sex divorce-related matters. Attorney Gordon Peters is open to discussing your unique situation, enlightening you about your divorce options, and helping you navigate crucial decisions in your marital dissolution. The firm is proud to serve clients across Lynchburg, Blackstone, Campbell County, Charlotte County, and Nottoway County, Virginia. 

Same-Sex Marriage in Virginia  

Same-sex marriage – also referred to as gay marriage – can be described as a marital union between partners of the same gender identity or sex. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, same-sex marriage has been legal since October 6, 2014. 

Furthermore, the parties in a same-sex marriage will have the same rights and responsibilities as any married couple. However, there may be various complexities when a relationship breakdown leads to a divorce. An experienced Virginia divorce attorney can enlighten you about the common issue in gay or lesbian divorce. 

Common Issues in Same-Sex Divorces  

Here are some common issues in same-sex divorces: 

When the Relationship Started 

When resolving certain divorce matters, the Virginia court may need to consider factors such as the length or duration of the marriage. However, when the relationship started might be an issue. Even though the couples might have been together before same-sex marriage became legal in the state, the court will not take this time into consideration. 

Division of Property 

Similar to divorce cases involving straight couples, gay couples also have to distribute their community property – assets acquired during the marriage – equitably during the divorce proceedings. In a situation where gay couples have been living together and acquiring assets prior to the legal marriage date, distinguishing between community and separate property may be challenging. 

Child Custody and Child Support Issues 

In most same-sex marriages, the spouses often conceive through assisted reproduction or artificial insemination. As such, only one of the couples will be biologically related to the child. Issues may arise if the non-biological parent never adopted their spouse’s biological child. As such, the child’s biological parent may try to deny custody or visitation to their spouse – because they do not have equal rights. Similarly, the non-biological parent may try to deny child support or other responsibilities to the child. 

Spousal Support Issues 

Another issue that often arises in same-sex divorces is alimony or spousal support. During a divorce, the court may order the higher-earning spouse to provide financial assistance to the unemployed or lower-earning spouse for a period. However, qualifying for alimony in Virginia may be based on various factors, including the couple’s time together. Unfortunately, the pre-marriage time together may not be considered. 

Tax Issues 

Lastly, same-sex married couples may be eligible to file jointly for purposes of federal tax benefits. However, issues may arise in a divorce if gay couples are living in a non-recognition state. If they’re filing jointly prior to the divorce, the spouses will still be treated as single for their state taxes. Thus, using different tax filing statuses – at federal and state levels – may result in various complexities. 

A trusted lawyer can help you understand the steps to take before divorce, guide you through the complicated procedures involved in same-sex divorces, and help you navigate crucial decisions. 

Skilled Legal Advocacy  

Filing for a same-sex divorce in Virginia usually involves several complexities. Just like straight couples, the divorcing gay spouses also need to sort out matters of property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. However, various issues often arise when resolving these divorce matters. Therefore, when going through a gay divorce, talking with a family law attorney is imperative for clear guidance and to protect your best interests.  

For more than 20 years, Attorney Gordon Peters has given outstanding legal services and guiding clients through the complexities of same-sex divorces. As your legal counsel, he can educate you about the same-sex divorce process, help identify key issues, and outline an effective strategy to resolve such relationship problems peacefully.  

Contact E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law, today to arrange a simple consultation with a loyal divorce lawyer. Attorney Gordon Peters has the comprehensive skills you need in your gay divorce to help make your transition as seamless as possible. The firm proudly serves clients across Lynchburg, Blackstone, Campbell County, Charlotte County, and Nottoway County, Virginia.