Did you know that the first Pride march was held all the way back in 1970 to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising? Although the Pride movement gained momentum after these events, it took another 45 years for the Supreme Court to declare LGBTQIA+ marriage legal in every state.
Because of delays in legal recognition of marriage and other circumstances, today LGBTQIA+ couples continue to face challenges that other couples do not.
Valuing and Dividing Marital Property Can Be More Complicated
When couples divorce in Ohio, the property that they own jointly—marital property—is divided in a manner the court finds to be equitable. Property that is determined to be separate property is usually not divided but kept by one spouse. The start date of the marriage is the basis for determining whether property is marital or separate. But the start date of the marriage is not always easy to ascertain for LGBTQIA+ couples.
Some couples in Ohio took vows in commitment ceremonies before 2015. Others married in jurisdictions where LGBTQIA+ marriages were legally recognized, but then returned or moved to jurisdictions where their marriages were not legally sanctioned.
Couples who are divorcing need to ensure that their attorneys are prepared to argue for the equitable marriage date and property division arrangements that uphold their interests. Marital property includes earnings and retirement assets, vehicles, real estate, and even business interests acquired by either spouse during the marriage or the active increase in value of a premarital business. If a marriage is considered to have started in 2005 or 2010 instead of 2015, that can have a significant impact on the way property is divided between divorcing partners.
Ohio courts can award temporary or permanent spousal support—also known as alimony—in divorce cases where the judge finds that support is justified. One of the factors that judges consider when determining whether to award spousal support, as well as the duration and amount of support payments, is the duration of the marriage. So, again, the difficulty in determining the true start date of a marriage may affect spousal support as well as property division.
Child Custody and Support
Many LGBTQIA+ couples are raising children from a prior relationship or born through assisted reproduction technology. These children are often biologically related to one spouse but not the other.
It is important in these situations to act promptly to secure parental rights for the spouse not biologically related and to establish appropriate child support obligations.
Work with Attorneys Prepared to Overcome the Challenges of LGBTQIA+ Divorce
At Weis Law Group, our legal team understands how to protect your interests in a wide range of circumstances. We know how to find the most advantageous position in complex cases, including those with significant financial complications.
For a confidential consultation to discuss the ways we can safeguard your interests and help you find your best way forward, contact our team today.