Whenever a Washington couple gets divorced, there are child custody, spousal support and other issues that must be worked out. When a same-sex couple gets divorced, those issues can be even more complicated. However, there are things that same-sex couples can do to make sure that their parental rights and the rights of their children are respected before, during and after a divorce.
The most important thing that a couple should do is create estate planning documents that are valid regardless of the relationship status. This ensures that children are able to inherit from their parents and that other wishes regarding property splitting are easier to enforce. For the non-biological parent of the child, it is important to keep a steady routine and stay involved with the child to increase the odds of winning sole or joint custody of a child.
It is also advisable to determine how much each parent will contribute financially to support the child. While some custodial parents will request traditional child support, it may be possible to pay a provider of services directly or for each parent to contribute as necessary. It is important to keep in mind that compliance with a child support order is not optional and a court could force a parent to pay at any time.
Washington same-sex couples may wish to obtain legal advice to ensure that their rights and wishes are respected during the divorce process. Not only are there child custody and property division issues to worry about, there may be inheritance issues to consider as well. An attorney with experience in divorce law may be able advise a client on these matters.
Source: The Huffington Post , "Facing Divorce? Top 5 Things Same-Sex Couples With Children Need to Know", Nicole Sodoma , February 20, 2014