Divorce is often riddled with complications for any divorcing couple. Add kids and high-value assets to the table and the risks climb. However, many might argue that same-sex couples face the greatest risks of all.
One of the main reasons for this, particularly with older LGBTQ couples, is that they may have spent many years together before the recent ruling allowed legal marriage. During that time, they may have found other ways to tie up their assets together that are now difficult to pull apart.
1. Blurred legal lines
CNBC points out that if a same-sex couple lived together for years before marriage, it is difficult to determine how to treat the prior relationship. Some courts might accept proof that the relationship continued before on the basis of marriage — albeit, not officially — but this does not always work. This can cause a 20-year relationship to look like it is only two years old and could significantly lessen what a dependent spouse may become entitled to.
2. State discrepancies
One of the problems Forbes identifies for the blurred legal lines is that different states handle same-sex relationships in their own way. This is especially true of the pre-2015 era. When couples moved between several different states throughout the course of their relationship, it further complicates how courts treat the pre-2015 era of their domestic partnership or otherwise committed relationship.
3. Child custody
Custodial rights of children are especially tricky, particularly if the child was adopted or born prior to the official marriage date. In many same-sex families, only one parent actually has legal guardianship rights over the child. Sometimes the other parent goes through with the adoption process of their spouse’s biological child to gain rights, but not all of them do.
All of these issues can make divorce especially stressful for same-sex couples and their family members. However, with patience and professional advice, it is possible to overcome them.