Family & Relationships

What Makes an LGBT Divorce Unique?

September 21, 2022

When deciding on the terms of your divorce, you may have to address many unique circumstances. For example, alimony may be extended in an LBGT or same-sex divorce. In addition, there may be issues in a divorce involving a child who is not biological or adoptive. The below information can give you a broader perspective.

LBGT Divorces May Have Extended Alimony

The issue of alimony is complicated in LBGT and same-sex divorce cases. While the statutes are generally the same, some jurisdictions apply different rules. In general, the duration of alimony is based on the length of the marriage. However, the time frame in LBGT and same-sex divorce cases may be longer.

In an LBGT or same-sex divorce, the time between the two parties is important because it will influence the amount of alimony awarded. The longer a marriage has been, the more likely the lower-earning spouse will receive more alimony. In a same-sex divorce, the couple may have lived together for years before marriage.

If the parties cohabited before the marriage, the duration of alimony might be extended. This may not always be the case, but many same-sex couples cohabitate. However, this does not necessarily extend the duration of alimony. So an LGBTQ divorce attorney NJ representing same-sex couples must understand the nuances of alimony and craft arguments that best represent their client’s unique needs.

Issues In An LGBTQ Divorce Without A Biological Or Adoptive Connection To The Child

When a couple has a child together, but one partner isn’t biological, or the child was adopted, it can lead to custody, visitation, and child support issues. Though biological parents usually have the most say in a child’s upbringing and education, adoptive parents have their rights and obligations.

Luckily, there are some legal steps LGBTQ couples can take to protect their rights during a child custody battle. One way to do this is to work with an experienced attorney specializing in these issues. In addition, this attorney can help parents create a parenting plan that works for everyone involved.

If the parents are heterosexual, the child will be the biological parent. However, it can be difficult for same-sex couples to agree on child custody issues, and the courts must step in. The same is true for same-sex couples who don’t have biological or adoptive ties to their child. In these cases, the non-biological parent may be treated like a stranger. Depending on the situation, this parent may be denied custody of the child.


While any divorce is never easy, LGBT divorces come with their own set of stressors and legal complications. In addition, as an LGBT person, you may feel particularly isolated and alone. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid these complications, including getting help from a psychologist specializing in same-sex relationships.

One of the biggest sticking points in an LGBTQ divorce is the date of marriage. This data is critical because it determines how assets will be split and whether or not alimony will be awarded. Generally, the longer the marriage, the greater the weight it will have in determining asset division and alimony. For example, if a couple has been together for 18 years, they can still qualify for alimony.

When the divorce involves children, custody and visitation issues will be especially challenging. This can be especially difficult for non-legal parents, and discussing the issues with your legal team is important. Additionally, you may need to pursue spousal support if one spouse earns significantly more than the other. This can help the lesser-earning spouse get back on their feet and maintain a good standard of living.

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