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Issues in Same-Sex Divorces

Oleen Law Firm  Aug. 24, 2023

After the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage became lawful in Kansas. As a result, both married same-sex couples and straight couples now have similar divorce rights in the state. However, gay couples may face some unique challenges during the divorce process. Besides determining when their marital relationship really began, there may also be some key issues when determining spousal support, property, and parental rights. 

At Oleen Law Firm, we’re dedicated to offering highly-personalized legal counsel and brilliant advocacy to gay couples in the legal matters of same-sex divorce. Our experienced Kansas family law attorneys are available to enlighten you about the key issues in same-sex divorces and help you make informed decisions in your marital dissolution. We’re proud to serve clients across Manhattan and Junction City, Kansas. If you’re in the area, reach out today for support

Same-Sex Marriage in Kansas

Same-sex marriage or gay marriage is a marital relationship between two individuals of similar sex or gender identity. Gay marriage became in the state of Kansas legal on June 26, 2015, following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges

In addition, married LGBT couples have the same rights and responsibilities as any married couple. Although, certain issues may arise when couples in same-sex marriages seek marital dissolution. A dedicated Kansas divorce attorney can fully explain some of the most common issues in lesbian or gay divorces. 

Common Issues in Same-Sex Divorces

In recent years, gay divorce has now become more legally straightforward. Nevertheless, the family courts still need to settle some unique issues during the divorce proceedings. Here are some common challenges in same-sex divorces: 

Determining When the Relationship Started

When trying to settle some contested divorce issues, the Kansas court may need to put the duration or length of the marital union into consideration. Generally, determining when the relationship started can be a significant problem during the divorce process. While the couples may have been dating or engaged prior to legalizing gay marriage in Kansas, the family court may not factor this into consideration. 

Child Custody and Child Support Issues

However, gay couples often seek artificial insemination or assisted reproduction to conceive. For this reason, only one spouse will be related to the child biologically. The other spouse (non-biological parent) may need to adopt the child to have parental rights. 

Essentially, there may be issues if the non-biological parent didn’t adopt their gay partner’s biological child or never finalized the adoption. Especially when their partner’s actions caused the marital breakdown, an aggrieved gay spouse may try to deny child custody and parenting time to their partner since they don’t have equal rights over the child. Also, the other party may refuse to pay child support and deny other responsibilities to the child. 

Asset Division Issues

Furthermore, Kansas laws require gay couples to distribute their community or marital property – assets and property accumulated during the marriage – equitably during divorce. However, if the LGBTQ+ couple has been cohabiting and accumulating assets before they legally married, it may be very difficult to differentiate between separate and community property. 

Alimony Issues 

To mitigate the unfair economic impact of the divorce, the Kansas court may order the higher-wage-earning spouse to provide periodic financial support to the lower-wage-earning or unemployed spouse. However, the court usually considers the length of the marriage when determining the type, amount, and duration of spousal support. Unfortunately, the court may overlook the couple’s pre-marriage time together when determining alimony. 

Tax Issues

Finally, gay or lesbian couples who are lawfully married are allowed to file their income taxes jointly to take advantage of federal tax benefits. However, there may be some issues during marital dissolution if the same-sex couple resides in a non-recognition tax state. In such situations, state tax authorities will treat them as single. As a result, the couple may need to use different tax filing statuses. This may eventually cause various complexities during the divorce. 

An experienced attorney can educate you about the necessary legal steps to take prior to your divorce, help you navigate the complex same-sex divorce processes, and make your transition as seamless as possible. 

Address Your Questions and Concerns With an Attorney

Seeking a gay divorce in Kansas often involves numerous complexities and some pertinent issues. Therefore, getting experienced legal guidance from a seasoned family law attorney is crucial to make intelligent decisions at every stage of the divorce process. 

At Oleen Law Firm, we have the diligence and expertise to assist and guide clients in their LGBTQ+ divorce. Our reliable attorneys can advocate for your best interests, identify and resolve key divorce issues amicably, and help you move forward quickly. 

Contact us at Oleen Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation with trusted divorce attorneys. We can address your concerns diligently and offer you the personalized advocacy you need to navigate intelligent decisions in your gay divorce. Our firm proudly serves clients across Manhattan and Junction City, Kansas.