Jane-Ashley McMillan, Attorney at Law

Plano Family Law Blog

The unique aspects of an LGBT divorce

Divorce is difficult for both spouses, no matter how amicable the two parties may be. However, the process of ending a marriage can be particularly difficult for LGBT couples. These couples face unique challenges in their relationships, and their divorces are no different. Being aware of these things may help a couple avoid difficulties as they navigate the legal process of ending their marriage.

There are specific stressors that are unique to LGBT divorces, and even though same-sex marriage is legal throughout the county, bias can still have a real impact on these couples. LGBT marriages are now legally recognized, but their divorces can be complicated when these couples have already been cohabitating and sharing finances for years or even decades before same-sex marriage was legal. 

Gray divorce for same-sex couples has even more complications

Couples in their 50s or older who divorce have many challenges to face, such as dividing their retirement and making sure they each have sufficient funds to avoid financial struggle. Same-sex couples have their own unique issues, especially if they established a common law partnership in the years prior to the recognition of same-sex marriages.

If you are in a same-sex marriage, you are over 50 and you are planning to divorce, you can expect to deal with those conflicts and more. 

Preserving your financial interests during a divorce

Divorce will bring significant changes to your life. From how much time you spend with your kids to where you live, virtually every area of your life will experience some type of impact. This is especially true for your finances and your economic standing. In fact, money may be one of your primary divorce-related concerns.

While you will go through changes in your finances, your divorce does not necessarily have to bring financial ruin. There are things you can do to protect your interests and preserve your long-term well-being. One of the main ways you can do this is by knowing your rights and preparing well for the process ahead. It will also be useful to keep your focus on making choices that make sense not only in the present, but down the road as well.

Tread lightly on social media during your divorce

Facebook and other social media platforms have grown into legitimate sources of information and channels for sharing ideas. Perhaps you have used your own social media pages to express your opinions on political issues, current events or trends in society. You may also use it publicize your personal feelings and events in your life. Many find this comforting, especially when friends and others approve and share your posts.

However, if you are preparing for divorce, social media may not be the sounding board you want to choose. While you may feel that you have a right to say whatever you want on your private social media account, you may discover that the thoughts you post have negative consequences.

Anticipating triggers that can doom collaboration

Divorce is seldom easy, and it often comes at the end of a difficult effort to make a marriage work. You may be well aware of the tension and struggles you have gone through, and you certainly do not want to take on more anxiety by going through a contentious courtroom divorce.

If you have opted to try collaborative law to end your marriage, you already know that this method of dispute resolution does not have a judge or mediator keeping the process under control. It will be up to you and your spouse to maintain a forward momentum, and this may mean recognizing those factors that may spark a battle.

Inventorying and organizing in preparation for divorce

When you got married, you undoubtedly expected the relationship to last. After all, you do not approach any type of situation without fully thinking it through. Of course, you cannot predict every curve life might throw at you, and though you once expected your marriage to last, you now know that it will not.

Though ending a marriage is certainly difficult, you are once again taking the time to think through what the legal process will mean for you and your future. You do not want to approach your divorce case without the proper preparations, which is why you are looking for information and tips.

Is it time to seek a modification of your custody order?

Before issuing child custody orders, family courts generally consider the family situation and other factors. The goal is to achieve a custody and visitation plan that suits the best interests of the child. You may be among the many divorced and separated parents who have adapted your life to comply with a custody order. However, you may wonder if it is time for a change.

The last thing you want to do is to take matters into your own hands by altering the custody plan without legal advice. Even if you and your ex agree to make changes, you may be opening yourself to serious complications if you do not have the court's authorization. Instead, it is wise to understand how to request a modification of your order and whether your reasons for seeking a modification are valid.

Father struggled for years to prove medical abuse of son

When an unmarried couple has a child together, one parent often takes full custody. The other parent may have partial custody or visitation rights. The other parent usually must pay child support as well.

In a Fort Worth case, a father overpaying child support tried for years to prove his son was a victim of medical abuse. His case shows how courts can often look unfavorably on fathers who don’t have custody.

Addressing unique LGBT issues with a prenup

If you and your partner have been together for years, even decades, you may have joined many in the LGBT community and rejoiced at the groundbreaking Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges. This landmark case recognized that same-sex couples have the same rights as opposite-sex couples when it comes to marriage laws. Perhaps you and your partner began planning your wedding immediately, or maybe you have been debating for years whether to marry or keep things as they are.

With a wedding in your future, you may be more intensely watching other couples marry, and it may be discouraging to see some heading for divorce. Even more upsetting may be the complex and tangled mess a same-sex divorce can be, especially for couples who were together long before winning the right to marry. This is why more same-sex couples are considering the value of a prenuptial agreement before taking their vows.

Communication tips for new co-parents

New co-parents typically carry emotional baggage beneath the surface level custody conversations they have together. Whether talking to your ex makes you feel angry, sad or remorseful, these emotions can make it uncomfortable to routinely discuss schedule arrangements and make custody exchanges.

To make these communications a little easier, try these tips for new co-parents.

<#if page.ID != "E-mail">