The legalization of same-sex marriage on August 1, 2013, opened the door for same-sex couples to become legally married in the state of Minnesota. Although U.S. Supreme Court eliminated a ban on marriage for same-sex couples, there are still many issues surrounding same-sex marriage and divorce.
Same-sex marriages present a unique set of legal challenges throughout all phases of the relationship, including the marriage itself, adoption, divorce, division of assets, alimony, child support, and others. Speak with a knowledgeable attorney at The Law Office of Glen A. Norton to help you navigate the unique challenges of same-sex marriage. As a native of Minnetonka, Minnesota, Glen A. Norton assists married and unmarried LGBT couples with divorce, adoption, and other family law matters in neighboring areas of Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Maple Grove, and Hennepin County.
Same-sex marriage is permitted in the state of Minnesota. Same-sex couples began marrying in Minnesota on August 1, 2013. They have the same rights and responsibilities as a married opposite-sex couple. After the law changed, marriage is now defined as a civil contract between two individuals regardless of gender.
There are multiple issues that a same-sex couple can encounter when seeking a divorce. Common challenges include:
Partners were together before the state legalized same-sex marriage. From a legal standpoint, the time partners spent before they entered into the marriage is not taken into consideration, even though they would become married if they could. However, the length of the marriage can affect many aspects of divorce.
Dividing marital assets acquired by the couple before the marriage became legal. In every divorce case, courts divide the couple’s marital property acquired during the marriage. However, if a same-sex couple was living together and acquired property before the marriage was legal, they could feel that their marital assets were divided unfairly.
The non-biological parent never adopted their partner’s biological child. If a same-sex couple raised a child together, but the non-biological parent never adopted their partner’s child, the court may not award any parental rights to that parent.
Determining alimony can become problematic. An alimony award is based on the length of the marriage. However, if the partners were together before Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage, their pre-marriage time may not be factored in when determining and calculating spousal support.
Tax issues. Taxation is another issue a same-sex couple may face when seeking a divorce. Although same-sex couples have the same tax-related rights and responsibilities as opposite-sex couples. Before same-sex marriage was legal, gay, lesbian, and bisexual couples could not file joint federal taxes, missing out on the benefits of filing jointly.
In Minnesota, same-sex partners can adopt children through first-parent or second-parent adoption.
First-parent adoption (stepparent adoption). Since same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota, the law allowed LGBT couples to go through the stepparent adoption process. During the process, a non-biological parent adopts the biological child of their spouse.
Second-parent adoption. If same-sex partners are not legally married, they can still adopt their partner’s child. To do so, the parent must submit a second-parent adoption petition to a county court. If the court grants their petition, the non-biological parent will have an established legal relationship with their partner’s child.
Many same-sex couples still face several challenges in divorce and other family law matters because same-sex marriage was not legal before August 1, 2013. Contact a same-sex marriage attorney in Minnetonka, Minnesota, to help you resolve your legal issues and achieve your goals.
The knowledgeable attorney at The Law Office of Glen A. Norton prides himself on helping clients with proper representation and support. The Minnetonka-based law firm provides legal counsel to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals and couples in Plymouth, Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Maple Grove, and Hennepin County, Minnesota.