Same Sex Family Law
Ending a marriage is difficult, no matter the circumstances. When a marriage involves a same-sex couple, it can make the divorce a little more complicated. As such, it is often necessary to work with an attorney with experience in LGBTQ family law.
At Cindy L. Kenworthy, P.C., I have more than 30 years of experience handling Indiana family law matters, and that now includes same-sex divorce. I understand how sensitive these situations can be and have the skill and the compassion to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Same-Sex Marriage Laws in Indiana
Indiana law now recognizes same-sex marriages, and in turn, same sex divorce. Any couple may file for divorce in the state so long as the residency requirements are met (you or your spouse are a resident of Indiana for at least six months and a county resident for at least three months).
Same-sex couples can choose to file for divorce on their own, or they can each work with their own attorney if they so choose. However, as divorce is often a more complicated process for same-sex families, it is recommended that you work with a lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome, especially if there are children involved.
At Cindy L. Kenworthy, P.C., I understand how frustrating the legal system can be and am dedicated to protecting the rights of same-sex families and their children. If you are concerned about your divorce being treated fairly or if you simply feel you need assistance and guidance getting through the process, I am here to help.
Family Law Services That I Provide to Same-Sex Families
As an experienced same-sex divorce attorney, Cindy L. Kenworthy, P.C. understands how important family is to our clients. The law firm handles a variety of same-sex family law matters and can help you resolve issues outside of court, but I am also available should your case require a hearing. Some of the services I can provide include:
Divorce, no matter who is involved, can be challenging and wrought with emotion, especially if there are disagreements between you and your spouse. These matters become even more complicated when a same-sex couple files for divorce.
The same rules apply in terms of meeting the requirements for divorce. First, before you can file for divorce, you or your spouse must meet the residency requirements. This means one of you must be a resident of Indiana for at least six months before the divorce, and one of you must be a resident in the county where the divorce is being filed for at least three months. The grounds for almost all divorce petitions is an irretrievable breakdown
Beyond meeting the requirements, where same-sex divorces can get tricky is when certain issues must be resolved, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and division of property.
Child custody matters may become more complicated with same-sex divorces is when neither individual are the biological parents, or when only one party is the biological parent, a situation that can make determining parental rights difficult.
That said, courts are required to view each parent as having custody and visitation rights if the child was born during the marriage unless certain factors are present. In other words, the child is a child of the marriage.
This means that the court should make decisions the same as they would for a heterosexual couple. As such, the sex of the parents should not play a role in a child custody dispute, and instead, other factors will be considered to determine which parents should have custody or if it should be a shared custody situation.
Still, family law is constantly changing even laws concerning same-sex couples and their rights. However, the best way to ensure an outcome that is in your child’s best interest is to work with a lawyer.
If you have custody of your child, you may wish to receive child support. It is also possible, based on the custodial parent’s income for the non-custodial parent to receive income.
Regardless of your sexual orientation, an order for child support to be paid may be in your child’s best interest. But even then, matters of support payments can get tricky. There are several factors that a judge will consider when ordering child support, which can include:
- The financial situation of both you and your spouse.
- The child’s physical and mental health condition.
- The child’s educational needs.
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the divorce had not happened.
In Indiana, the same rules for relocation apply to same-sex couples as they do to heterosexual couples. If either parent moves their residence a distance of more than 20 miles, they must file a Notice with the court. Presently, the information to be included in the Notice is lengthy and cumbersome. Failure to file the Notice in the prescribed time could result in a contempt action being filed against the relocating party.
Even if you are the one who is not considered the custodial parent and your spouse wants to change places of residence after the divorce, you will find your ability to affect the move is predicated on a number of factors. This is why working with a lawyer is so crucial in these cases.
Division of Assets
The Court is required by law to begin with the premise or rebuttable presumption that the marital estate (assets and debts) will be divided equally on a 50/50 basis. There are a number of factors that the Court must consider in ordering a distribution, but first the Court must know all of your assets and debts. Indiana is known as a one-pot theory state, meaning everything goes into the pot. Initially, what you care about is not what goes into the post, but what comes out the other end.
A lawyer experienced in family law has the talent and knowledge to present the distribution factors to the Court in a way best suited to your desired outcome of the case. Working closely with a lawyer will only help your cause.
Indiana recognizes three types of maintenance—permanent spousal maintenance, rehabilitation maintenance, and temporary spousal maintenance. Many factors determine a judge’s decision on which spouse needs support, if any, and the amount of support to be ordered. As with all divorces, one factor that will affect spousal support is the duration of the marriage.
When you consider asking for maintenance, you must understand that of the three types of maintenance is different and different requirements or factors exist. To ensure you understand what type of maintenance is available to you, it is critical to meet with an attorney and discuss the facts of your case and how the law applies to the facts.
Cindy L. Kenworthy, P.C. — Same Sex Family Law – Protecting Your Rights
At Cindy L. Kenworthy, P.C., I am a family law attorney with experience handling a range of family matters involving same-sex couples. I understand how frustrating these cases can be and am here to help. If you are ready to move forward with your divorce or any other family law matter, reach out today for a consultation or give the firm a call at 317-516-0515.