Members of the same-sex community gained the right to marry—and divorce—in 2015, when the Supreme Court made same-sex unions legal throughout the U.S. Even though LGBTQ couples enjoy the same legal rights as opposite-sex couples, in reality there are sometimes complications that heterosexual couples do not face.

Work with a divorce law attorney who understands the unique needs of couples in the queer community. A Fort Lauderdale LGBTQ divorce lawyer can provide the skilled and compassionate legal guidance you need.

Child Custody Issues in LGBTQ Divorce

Child custody issues can impact same-sex couples differently than opposite-sex couples. The law gives both legal parents equal rights to parenting time and decision-making responsibility. However, sometimes one of the spouses raising children in a same-sex union is not considered a legal parent.

When a same-sex couple adopts a child together or uses assisted reproduction technology (ART) to have a baby, each partner is a legal parent to the child and can have their name on the child’s birth certificate. Each parent has equal rights to parenting time and legal custody even in cases when only one spouse has a biological relationship with the child.

When one spouse enters a marriage with an adopted or biological child, the other spouse must adopt the child through stepparent adoption to become their legal parent. If the child has another living parent, adoption is not possible unless the other legal parent agrees or their parental rights are terminated. A Fort Lauderdale attorney can help a parent in the LGBTQ community negotiate for a continuing relationship with a child after a divorce.

Ensuring a Fair Division of Property

Divorcing couples must divide their marital property. Anything one spouse owned before getting married is considered separate property, and anything the couple acquired together or one spouse acquired alone after the date of marriage is marital property.

Many same-sex couples lived in committed relationships for many years before they were able to marry. Property that either spouse acquired while living together would be considered separate property under the law, although it would have been marital property if they had been married. This issue can create unfairness in property division decisions.

Florida Statute § 61.075 assumes that an even split of marital property is equitable unless other factors exist that make it fair for one partner to leave the marriage with more than half the marital property. An LGBTQ couples divorce attorney in Fort Lauderdale could ensure a Judge recognizes potential unfairness if they were in a marriage-like relationship for an extended time before the law permitted them to marry.

Many Benefits to a Negotiated Divorce

All divorcing couples benefit from trying to negotiate their divorce settlement rather than ask the Judge to decide their disputes. A negotiated settlement is almost always more economical, faster, and less stressful than a litigated divorce. They also allow a couple control over the outcome.

Same-sex couples can avoid some of the challenges unique to their situation by negotiating their divorces through the collaborative law process or mediation. For example, they could arrive at an agreeable property settlement that acknowledges all the years they lived as a couple, not just the years they were legally married.

A Fort Lauderdale lawyer with experience in same-sex family law can negotiate to reach an acceptable settlement. Alternatively, the couple could negotiate a settlement and use the legal professional to review the agreement and formalize it to submit to the court. Couples who negotiate a settlement before filing for divorce could file for an uncontested divorce and have their final decree within a few weeks.

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Attorney About LGBTQ Divorce Today

When you are preparing to divorce, you need a capable family law attorney who is sympathetic to the issues you are facing. A Fort Lauderdale LGBTQ divorce lawyer understands the potential complications inherent in same-sex divorce and knows how to resolve them.

The team at The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm will advocate for you during this difficult moment. Schedule a free case evaluation today and learn what you need to do next.