Hackensack LGBTQ Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is rarely a simple process, even if you and your partner agree that separating is the best way forward. However, if you want to dissolve a marriage with a same-sex partner, you may encounter challenges that opposite-sex couples may not face when seeking a divorce.
Assistance from a Hackensack LGBTQ divorce lawyer can be crucial to bridging the practical gaps in the treatment that opposite-sex and same-sex couples receive under state law. From overseeing property division to advocating for child custody rights and parenting time, a seasoned divorce attorney at Moskowitz Law Group can provide the guidance and support you may need to protect your best interests.
Dividing Property in a Same-Sex Divorce
During a divorce, courts distinguish marital property from separate property to determine an equitable division of assets and debts. With certain uncommon exceptions, only marital property and marital debt — property and debt obtained or incurred during the marriage — is split between spouses during divorce.
Same-sex couples may fall into a gray area in this regard. Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in New Jersey since September 27, 2013, when the Superior Court of New Jersey’s ruling in Garden State Equality v. Dow went into effect. It does not extend retroactively before that date. Unless LGBTQ couples had previously entered a civil union, courts may not consider property or debt they acquired before that time as “marital property” in divorce proceedings.
This ruling can make a fair division of assets an especially challenging process for couples who had been in a relationship long before this date. Representation from a Hackensack LGBTQ divorce attorney can be vital in establishing who has the right to what property to pursue an equitable divorce agreement or judgment.
Custody Over Adopted Children Following an LGBTQ Marriage Separation
Another complicated component of LGBTQ divorces is determining how parents will share child custody or visitation rights. If both parties have completed the legal adoption process, they will have the same rights as if they were the child’s biological parents throughout custody proceedings. If only one party to a same-sex divorce is the adoptive or biological parent of a child, matters can become more complicated, even if the other party has functionally acted as the child’s other parent for years. If the biological parent or party who legally adopted the child does not consent to grant the other party custodial rights, the other party will have to request that the Court deem them the child’s psychological parent or pursue another appropriate mechanism to obtain custodial rights.
The guidance of a seasoned family law attorney can make a significant difference when resolving complex custody issues amicably during an LGBTQ divorce in Hackensack. A legal professional can explain doctrines such as the “psychological parent” that can award custody rights to the party who did not legally adopt and is not the biological parent of a child in an LGBTQ divorce.
A Hackensack LGBTQ Divorce Attorney Can Help
While every divorce can be an emotional challenge, divorces between same-sex partners may involve additional legal and practical complications. New Jersey and the U.S. do not have much case law to rely on when it comes to recognizing same-sex couples as legal spouses, making these divorces challenging to pursue without knowledge of family law.
Fortunately, help is available from a dedicated Hackensack LGBTQ divorce lawyer. Call Moskowitz Law Group today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options.