New Mexico has officially recognized same-sex marriage since 2013 with the passage of a Supreme Court ruling. This means that same-sex divorce is also legal.
If you are considering divorce in an LGBTQ relationship, you may find that it comes with some complications. This guide will help you sort through some of those complications.
Why Has LGBTQ Divorce Been So Complicated?
Fortunately, in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled to make LGBTQ marriage legal in all states, which makes divorce less complicated than it had been before. In the days before nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, LGBTQ spouses often had destination weddings in places where they could legally marry.
With many states having laws that require you to have residency for six months before you can file for divorce, the laws made divorce impossible for many couples.
Of course, the 2015 ruling did not make every divorce less complex. Some couples still struggle with the process.
How Does Cohabitation Impact LGBTQ Divorce?
Before LGBTQ marriage was completely legal, some couples had domestic partnerships and legal contracts to legally affirm their relationships. As a result, LGBTQ couples who got married years after they entered a legal relationship have often been together longer than their marriage date demonstrates.
As a result of living together before marriage was legal, the court’s decisions regarding asset and property division may not be totally fair. The reason for unfair decisions is that the judge often must consider the date of the marriage, not the date during which both parties agreed to become a couple.
Unfortunately, the courts often can’t take into account the fact that you were not legally able to be married at the time your relationship began.
How Does LGBTQ Marriage Impact Parental Rights?
LGBTQ relationships may not come with clear parental rights, especially because only one parent may be biologically related to the child and the other parent may not have signed legal adoption papers.
If you have signed documents stating you and your spouse are both the legal parents of the child, the court has an easier time with the decision. Your case will not be dissimilar to those of heterosexual parents.
How Does LGBTQ Marriage Impact Spousal Support?
The judge will look at different factors before he or she decides if one partner will receive spousal support after an LGBTQ marriage, not unlike a heterosexual marriage. The judge looks at the length of the marriage, the incomes of both partners, the health and well-being of both spouses, and if one partner had to put their own career on the backburner to care for children at home.
How Can You Make Your Divorce Less Complicated?
If you are unsure about the process of going through an LGBTQ divorce, the first thing you should do is consult with your attorney, who may recommend mediation. Mediation allows you and your spouse to come to agreements together rather than going through the courts where a judge will make a final decision.
If you have children together, mediation can allow both parents to have visitation or custody of the kids. You can use your own feelings to come to decisions, which is not always possible when you take your case to court.
What Should You Do During Your Divorce?
If you are going through a divorce, talk about your situation with a family law attorney. Every situation is different, and your case may require special interest. A family law attorney understands the subtleties of New Mexico divorce law.
The Law Offices of Lynda Latta LLC serve families in New Mexico. If you have additional questions about LGBTQ divorce, contact our office. We are available to help you through this difficult time and provide legal counsel and representation when you need it most.