Same-sex marriage and divorce rules are still in their early stages. There are so many “what-ifs” and unanswered questions being thrown around. This makes the process of divorce even more complex than it needs to be for same-sex couples.
Many of these couples who got married have since decided to end their relationship by filing for a divorce. Normally the marriage reaches a tipping point after countless issues. If you ever find yourself facing this situation, we have highlighted some points below that you might want to think about prior to getting divorced.
What’s Your Relationship Status?
Before same sex marriage was officially legalized, most of the same sex couples would list their relationship as a domestic partnership. Upon legalization, some updated their status from partnership to marriage. If you didn’t update your status, you might need to go through a secondary process, which is dealing with the uncertainties of being common. Many same sex couples are listed as common law instead of being married.
Are One Of You Looking For Spousal Support?
Courts will sometimes have to determine how much spousal support a spouse would have to pay to their soon to be ex. They might calculate the length of time the payments would go on for. An important part of that calculation is often how long the marriage lasted for and what the date of separation was.
For same sex couples, the amount of support isn’t always going to be clear. They might have lived together for a while but didn’t want to be common law. Or they might have decided to be together monogamously before coming to a conclusion that they wanted to be legally married. If that’s the case, as it often is, things can get complicated.
If you are planning to get married, consider that this can have a devastating impact on your financials. Also, If you do end up getting divorced, you can choose other ways to resolve the issue. These methods include collaborative divorce or any form of mediation.
If Kids Are Involved
It’s fundamentally important that if you adopt a child, that you hire a lawyer to do it properly. You don’t want to take a chance that you won’t be given any rights for custody. Normally mediation or another alternative resolution is highly advisable for instances like this.
If your child is at your care (let’s say at 70% of the time), and your partner has the child 30% of the time, your income will normally not matter. The monthly child support will likely be based and determined by your partner’s income. Why? Some child support laws like in British Columbia states that if the child is with one parent 60% or more of the time, the other parent will be liable and might have full responsibility for child support.
If the situation is 50/50 both of your incomes will often be set off between the two of you. Whoever has the higher earning will need to pay for the child support. This is based on how much the difference is.
How Does Property Division Work?
In a nutshell, you would keep what you brought into a marriage or relationship. Whatever it is that you purchased during the relationship or if you received anything during the common law partnership is normally included in property division. This includes an increase in value which would be divided evenly between you and your ex.
You can normally keep any gifts or any inheritances that you receive during your relationship given that it doesn’t increase in value. For debts, anything that you both incur during the relationship or marriage will be split evenly between the two of you. If you want to keep the asset, then you would settle your half of it by making a payment to your spouse. If you have debts that you brought into the relationship, that would normally be your own responsibility.
So, these are tips that you can consider prior to your divorce. Hopefully it can help you make the right decision in how to move forward in your relationship. But remember, it’s still at your best interest to get a family lawyer who can give you the right legal advice and tell you the best resolution for moving forward.