Same-sex marriage became a national right in 2015 with the Supreme Court decision Obergefell v. Hodges.
Before this massive case, same-sex marriage was not legal in Louisiana, which made this decision a big deal for the state and its residents. New Orleans has had a longstanding LGBTQ community, and this landmark court ruling had a huge effect on this community, especially.
While many in the nation rejoiced over these new rights for same-sex couples, there are still some gray areas that need clarity in the laws. One of those areas is what same-sex divorce looks like in Louisiana.
Divorces for same-sex couples do not go exactly the same as they do for heterosexual couples. And some special circumstances can muddy the waters even more.
What are my same-sex divorce rights in Louisiana?
You have the right to a same-sex divorce in Louisiana if you’ve been formally married in any state in the country, but there are some complicating factors, including:
- Your marriage situation before 2015
- Property and assets ownership
To guide you in understanding your same-sex divorce rights in Louisiana, we’ve included some of the factors that could have an impact on the process.
Marriage before the 2015 ruling
Before the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, couples found ways around the fact that same-sex marriage was not recognized in Louisiana. Some of these methods included:
- Getting married outside of Louisiana, in parts of the country where these unions were formally recognized
- Participating in a civil union with no formal marriage license
- Cohabitating and living as if they were married
If you and your partner did any of the above, these circumstances will affect the validity of your marriage unless you were then formally married in Louisiana after the landmark Supreme Court case, as well.
The courts will evaluate whether or not you have a formal marriage that needs to be dissolved and assets divided. Otherwise, you might not have standing in the court system and you’ll need to resolve the matter on your own.
Children from same-sex unions
The matter of children is of course a delicate one.
Regardless of whether your child is biological or adopted, the courts will rule in favor of what’s best for the child in a divorce case.
But of course, custody situations can become quite complicated.
For example, in some same-sex marriages, a child is only biologically related to one of the parents. If there is no formal adoption for the other parent, this could make things complicated and sway decision-making on custody matters.
This is just one of many reasons why it’s so vital for parents in same-sex relationships going through a divorce must obtain a skilled family law attorney in Louisiana.
Couples who were married outside of the state or even outside of the country could face challenges in proving joint property ownership.
One example of this is if you were married in Europe while awaiting your union to be legal in the US. If you returned to the US and purchased property with your spouse but they are not listed on the mortgage or lease in any way, it could be difficult for you to prove joint ownership.
That’s because your marriage from outside the country might not be recognized in Louisiana without obtaining a US marriage license.
In cases where both names are listed on the property, this is a simpler case for dividing that asset.
Contact Kristen-Stanley Wallace Today
Divorce is always a complicated issue with the potential to become messy. Same-sex divorce is no different, and can be even more confusing. Protect your rights, your children, and your property by getting in touch with Louisiana family law attorney Kristen-Stanley Wallace today.