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How to avoid complications in same-sex divorce

Like divorces with heterosexual couples, same-sex couples are likely to encounter the same hurt feelings, the same drawn-out process and the same bitter disagreements if they too find their marriage failing. But unlike heterosexual couples, same-sex couples are directly impacted by several federal and state laws that might not give them the same journey through the divorce process.

As any good family law attorney will tell you, the divorce process is not an easy one to navigate and often requires couples to come incredibly prepared if they want the process to go smoothly and quickly. The same is true for gay marriage too; but with changing state and federal laws, this might take a little more research than normal.

For same-sex couples here in Washington, it’s important to be up to date on marriage laws. Because while same-sex marriage is legal here, it might not be recognized in other states which can cause huge complications if you and your partner part ways in another state’s jurisdiction. Prenuptial agreements can circumvent this potential complication because it defines your rights in the event of divorce regardless of whether the jurisdiction recognizes same-sex marriage.

Adoption and child custody are two other important things to consider as well. Complexities in the law have not been completely ironed out in some states, especially when it comes to same-sex couples, and can offer another challenge when it comes to divorce.

As with heterosexual couples, same-sex couples are encouraged to prepare as much information as they can before filing for divorce. Having up to date financial records, life insurance policies and any other important documents such as car titles, lease agreements or house deeds, can save a lot of headaches when it comes to property division.

Although being prepared may not necessarily eliminate all complications during divorce proceedings, it at least offers a little more ease through a process that often causes so many problems.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Tips on Avoiding Same-Sex Divorce Complications,” Alton Abramowitz, May 13, 2013

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