Are You Facing an LGBTQ Divorce in Maryland? You Need the Support & Guidance of an Experienced LGBTQ Divorce Lawyer
Although absolute divorce applies to a same-sex couple and an opposite-sex couple in the same way, gay and lesbian divorces have inherent nuances. As the legal landscape evolves, understanding the unique challenges same-sex spouses face when navigating the dissolution of their marriage is vital. It is important to work with an experienced LGBTQ divorce lawyer if you are facing an imminent divorce involving an LGBTQ spousal relationship. From concerns over child custody to asset division, the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee recognizes the uncertainty and fear that can arise.
Following the landmark U.S. vs. Windsor Supreme Court ruling in 2013, gay and lesbian divorces in Maryland are now afforded the same rights as any other divorces.
Same-sex couples have been able to legally marry and divorce in every state since 2015. However, despite this progress, they continue to encounter specific challenges compared to straight couples. For instance, the current equitable distribution laws only consider the division of marital property. This means that same-sex couples who purchased homes together or shared bank accounts in the past may only be able to divide assets acquired after the Supreme Court’s decision became law.
At the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee, we have the experience and knowledge to guide you through the obstacles that arise in gay and lesbian divorces. Trust us to navigate the legal intricacies and protect your rights during this emotional process. We care about you.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our founding attorney, where we will assess your LGBTQ divorce case and devise a legal strategy appropriate for your goals and concerns.
The Three No-Fault Grounds for LGBTQ Divorce in Maryland
Under Maryland’s new divorce law, which took effect on October 1, 2023, the three no-fault grounds for LGBTQ divorce include:
- 6-Month Separation: if a same sex couple has been living separate lives for six months without interruption before filing for divorce, Maryland courts could grant a divorce order.
- Irreconcilable Differences: If irreconcilable differences between a same-sex couple lead them to permanently end the marriage, it can be a basis for divorce.
- Mutual Consent: if both partners of the same-sex couple agree, the state can grant them an uncontested divorce if they meet the following requirements.
- Both parties must sign a written agreement that outlines all issues concerning alimony, property division, and the care, custody, access, and support of minor children.
- If child support appears on the agreement, the same-sex couple must complete and submit a child support guidelines worksheet.
- A Maryland court must approve of the agreement after determining that it meets the criteria for upholding the best interests of the children.
We Have No-Fault Divorce in Maryland, But Causes For Your LGBTQ Divorce Remain Relevant
Despite having no-fault divorce laws, which allow couples to end their marriage without placing blame on one another, some factors may contribute to a divorce, including financial issues, communication problems, infidelity, and irreconcilable differences.
Financial issues can put a strain on any relationship, often leading to arguments and resentment between partners. This reality is no different for a same-sex couple. Money-related conflicts, such as overspending or unequal contributions to household expenses, can cause heated arguments and may ultimately lead to a divorce.
Communication problems can also be a significant factor in the breakdown of a marriage. Crucial for any relationship, when effective communication breaks down, it can create misunderstandings and conflicts that are difficult to resolve. This lack of communication can become even more of a roadblock for same-sex couples who may face additional challenges such as societal discrimination or lack of support from family and friends.
Infidelity is another common cause for divorce, regardless of sexual orientation. While same-sex couples may face unique challenges in terms of societal acceptance and access to resources such as marriage counseling, the impact of infidelity can still be just as devastating.
Moreover, irreconcilable differences can also lead to a divorce, such as fundamental disagreements on pivotal issues like religion, politics, or lifestyle choices.
Do You and Your LGBTQ Spouse Have Irreconcilable Differences?
One of the grounds for divorce in Maryland is irreconcilable differences. It means that you and your spouse have significant disagreements or issues that cannot be resolved, making it impossible to continue the marriage.
What does this mean for LGBTQ couples in Maryland? Are there any specific considerations or challenges they may face when claiming irreconcilable differences as a ground for divorce?
Concerning the claim of irreconcilable differences as a ground for divorce, there are no specific laws or considerations for LGBTQ couples. The process is the same for all married couples, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, each case is unique and may have its own complexities. Consult an experienced LGBTQ divorce lawyer to protect your rights and needs throughout the process.
Will You Qualify For LGBTQ Mutual Consent Divorce in Maryland?
Mutual consent divorce is a type of no-fault divorce that allows couples to end their marriage without having to prove specific grounds for the divorce. This process can be much quicker and less expensive than a traditional fault-based divorce that requires one spouse to prove that the other is at fault for the marriage breaking down.
Maryland has specific requirements for any couple seeking a mutual consent divorce, including same-sex and LGBTQ couples, including:
- You and your spouse must have reached an agreement on all issues related to the divorce, such as property division, child custody, child support, and alimony.
- You must have no minor children in common or if you do, the children must be at least 18 years old and not enrolled in high school.
- You must have no minor children in common or if you do, the children must be at least 18 years old and not enrolled in high school.
- The couple must file a written settlement agreement which outlines the terms of their divorce.
The Issues You Need To Address When Pursuing an LGBT Divorce in Maryland
Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process for any couple, but it can be particularly challenging for an LGBTQ couple. As if the legal and financial aspects of divorce weren’t enough to navigate, a same-sex couple may also face additional obstacles due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage in Maryland, you will need to address a range of issues that may be specific to LGBTQ couples.
Legal Considerations in a Maryland LGBTQ Divorce
Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in Maryland since January 2013, granting same-sex couples married in the state the same rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex couples pertaining to divorce.
Work closely with a knowledgeable LGBTQ divorce attorney who can guide you through the legal aspects of your divorce with empathy and diligence.
Child Custody and Support in Relation to LGBTQ Divorce
If you have children with your spouse, their well-being will be a priority during the divorce process. However, same-sex couples may face unique challenges when it comes to child custody and child support.
For example, if you are a non-biological parent in a same-sex couple, you may not have the same automatic parental rights as the biological parent. This could become an issue if your spouse tries to limit your access to your children during or after the divorce.
Additionally, same-sex parents may face discrimination when it comes to child custody and child support orders. An experienced LGBTQ divorce attorney can advocate for your rights as a parent and ensure that your children’s best interests are taken into consideration.
Division of Assets and Debts in Relation to LGBTQ Divorce in Maryland
Maryland is an equitable distribution state, which means that assets and debts acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly (but not necessarily equally) between the spouses in a divorce. This includes everything from bank accounts and retirement funds to real estate and personal belongings.
When it comes to dividing assets and debts in an LGBTQ divorce, there may be additional considerations to keep in mind. For example, if you and your spouse have a joint business or own property together, the division of these assets may be more complex. You may also need to address issues surrounding health insurance coverage or other benefits that were previously shared.
Spousal Support for LGBTQ Divorcees in Maryland
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a payment made from one spouse to the other for financial support after a divorce. In Maryland, judges consider a variety of factors when determining spousal support, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and earning capacity, and any contributions made by one spouse to the other’s education or career.
In an LGBTQ divorce, there may be additional considerations when it comes to spousal support. For example, if one spouse was the breadwinner while the other stayed home to raise children, this could impact the amount and duration of spousal support awarded. An experienced LGBTQ divorce attorney can help you understand your rights and options.
The Circumstances of Your LGBTQ Divorce in Maryland Will Determine the Appropriate Options to Seek Resolution of Disputed Issues
One of the primary considerations for LGBTQ couples seeking a divorce is that they may have different legal rights and protections depending on their marital status. This can be particularly significant for same-sex couples who were married in a state that recognizes their marriage, but now reside in Maryland where same-sex marriage was only legalized in 2013.
In terms of dispute resolution, LGBTQ individuals may confront additional challenges due to potential biases and discrimination within the legal system. Work with an experienced attorney who understands these issues and can advocate for your rights.
Addressing LGBTQ Child Custody Disputes in Maryland
An important pressing concern for any couple with children that is going through a divorce is child custody. This is no different for LGBTQ couples, who may face additional challenges due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Maryland bases custody decisions on the best interests of the child; sexual orientation or gender identity should not be a determining factor.
However, LGBTQ individuals must be aware of potential biases that could arise during custody disputes, including stereotypes about same-sex parenting or discrimination from judges who may hold biased views. Work with a lawyer who understands and supports the LGBTQ community and can effectively advocate for your rights as a parent.
In any divorce, it is in everyone’s best interest to reach an amicable solution, especially when children are involved. This may mean pursuing divorce mediation or working with a collaborative lawyer to come to an agreement that works for both parties. In situations where one or both spouses are members of the LGBTQ community, it may be beneficial to seek out a mediator or lawyer who has experience with LGBTQ divorce and can provide a safe and understanding environment for discussions.
Schedule a Consultation for LGBTQ Divorce with Ellen L. Lee, a Maryland Divorce Attorney with Over 35 Years of Family Law Experience in Montgomery County
Are you considering filing for LGBTQ or same-sex divorce? You need a kindhearted, capable, and experienced LGBTQ divorce lawyer to protect your rights and offer unwavering support throughout the process.
Contact the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee at (301) 279-0692 or complete our online form. Located near the Rockville Courthouse, our law office assists clients in Montgomery County and throughout Maryland. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns you may have about LGBTQ divorce.
We offer multiple options for our initial information-gathering session to suit your preferences and needs. You can choose to meet with us in person at our boutique law office in Rockville, Maryland, or opt for a Zoom video conference or phone call. We understand the importance of flexibility and offer evening and weekend appointments for your convenience.
Why Choose the Law Offices of Ellen L. Lee
Ellen L. Lee has devoted over 35 years of unwavering commitment to aiding individuals and families in Montgomery County, Maryland with their family law needs. Grounded in counseling and psychology, she provides personalized guidance and assistance to her clients in an inviting atmosphere — prioritizing effective communication while forging new beginnings amidst family law disputes.
- Tenacious & Compassionate Legal Support
- Trusted Guidance that Exceeds Expectations
- Full Range of Family Law Services
- Flexible Consultation Times: Nights and Weekends are Available
- Over 35 Years of Experience Practicing Family Law in Montgomery County, Maryland
Our Founding Attorney conveniently meets with clients via phone, video conference, or in person at our office in Rockville, Maryland.