Monmouth County LGBTQ Divorce Lawyer

Monmouth County LGBTQ Divorce Lawyer

The legal process of dissolving a marriage is the same for heterosexual and same-sex couples, but there are some issues that come up more frequently when people in the LGBTQ community divorce. It is important to have a lawyer who understands these issues and can anticipate solutions.

Contact a Monmouth County LGBTQ lawyer when you and your spouse decide to dissolve your marriage. A seasoned divorce attorney with experience serving the queer community can help you accomplish your divorce as quickly and smoothly as the circumstances permit.

Property Division Considerations

N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.1 requires spouses to divide their marital property equitably. In general, marital property is the assets and debts either or both spouses acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or obligation. The division of marital property need not be equal but must be fair considering all the facts and circumstances.

Couples benefit when they try to reach a property division agreement without judicial intervention. If a judge must divide the couple’s property, they will consider, among other factors, the following:

  • Length of the marriage
  • How much separate property each spouse takes from the marriage
  • Contributions each spouse makes to the marriage, including homemaking and child-rearing
  • Age and health of each spouse
  • Education, work history, and ability of each spouse to be self-supporting

In addition to these factors, a judge can consider anything else they deem relevant to the decision.

When a same-sex couple in Monmouth County undergo the divorce process, their respective attorneys conduct and guide them through the discovery process. Each spouse makes full financial disclosures to the other, the value of assets and liabilities is verified with supporting documents, and, if necessary, forensic accountants and others may look for hidden or misvalued property. Discovery can greatly increase the time it takes to complete a divorce and therefore, also increase the cost of the divorce.

Issues Relating to Parenthood

Many gay and lesbian couples raise children together. Sometimes, both spouses are legal parents to the children the couple shares. In that case, each parent has the same rights as a heterosexual parent would have.

When only one spouse has legal parentage over a child, issues of custody, parenting time, and child support can be challenging. Consult with an LGBTQ divorce attorney in Monmouth County before filing to determine each spouse’s rights concerning children.

When Both Spouses are Legal Parents

This situation occurs when the couple adopts a child together through an adoption agency. This also occurs when the non-birthing spouse adopts the child after in vitro fertilization. This also occurs when the non-biological parent adopts a child born through surrogacy. Sometimes, one spouse has an adopted or biological child from a prior relationship, and the other spouse adopts the child.

When both spouses are already legal parents, each spouse has rights to legal custody and parenting time, and either spouse may be required to pay child support. The parties must submit a parenting plan to the court describing their ideal arrangements regarding where the child will live, which parent will have decision-making authority, how the parents will resolve disputes over parenting matters, and similar issues.

When Only One Spouse is a Legal Parent

Sometimes, a spouse brings a biological or adopted child into a marriage, and the child has another living parent. The unrelated spouse cannot adopt a child with two living legal parents unless the other legal parent consents. Sometimes, a couple raises a child together, and the unrelated parent does not adopt for some other reason, even though the child could be adopted. These situations can be heartbreaking for the child and unrelated spouse when a couple divorces because there is no clear legal basis for the former spouse to request custody or parenting time with the child.

A spouse that does not have legal rights to the child could argue that they are a psychological parent to the child, meaning they acted as the child’s parent, the child thinks of them as a parent despite the lack of a legal, biological, or adoptive parental relationship, and it would be harmful to the child to terminate the relationship by not giving them legal rights to the child. A judge could bestow parental rights and responsibilities to the child if they find doing so to be in the child’s best interests.

Contact an Attorney in Monmouth County for Help with LGBTQ Divorce Issues

Deciding to dissolve a marriage is stressful, but having a capable attorney providing advice and guiding you through the process can make it easier. Work with a Monmouth County LGBTQ divorce lawyer to ensure you get advice relevant to the unique issues that can arise in same-sex divorces.

Competent legal advice can help your divorce proceed more swiftly and less stressfully. Schedule an appointment to speak with a knowledgeable attorney today.

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