Chester New York Same-Sex Divorce Attorney

Dissolving a same-sex marriage in Orange County

Since the landmark 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex couples have enjoyed all the civil privileges of marriage, including the right to the protections of divorce law. There is only one set of laws governing marriage and courts must apply that law in divorces of spouses in same-sex unions. As an Orange County New York same-sex divorce attorney, I provide compassionate counsel and determined representation. In my practice at Meth Law Offices, PC in Chester, I also assist clients in dissolving domestic partnerships, in which the procedures and the parties’ rights are very different.

Grounds for divorce in New York

New York allows for no-fault divorce by citing an “irretrievable breakdown” in the relationship for a period of at least six months. Filing on no-fault grounds allows for an expedited divorce if all essential issues have been settled.

Spouses can also sue for divorce on fault grounds, which include:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment for three or more years consecutively
  • Adultery
  • Divorce after a legal separation agreement
  • Divorce after a judgment of separation

However, a party alleging fault grounds must be prepared to prove the allegations by a preponderance of factual evidence, which can be difficult and time-consuming.

How are assets divided in a same-sex divorce?

Division of assets in a same-sex divorce follows New York’s law of equitable distribution, which requires a court to divide marital property fairly but not necessarily equally. Spouses may keep their separate property. If a couple has a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will enforce it as long as it is consistent with state law and public policy.

Is spousal maintenance awarded in NY same-sex divorces?

A dependent spouse in a same-sex marriage can petition for spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. The decision to grant alimony depends on numerous factors, such as the length of the marriage and the earning capacity of each spouse. There is no strict formula for the duration of alimony, though a common award is one year of payments for every three years of marriage. Due to changes in federal income tax law in 2018, alimony payments are not tax deductible for the payor or reportable as income for the recipient.

Child custody issues for same-sex divorce

Child custody issues can be complex for same-sex couples, since typically only one spouse is a biological parent. As a family lawyer, I have represented same-sex spouses with children from prior marriages or who become parents through adoption, in vitro fertilization or surrogacy. I understand that in matters of custody and visitation, established law has not always caught up with contemporary family structures. Courts must decide on custody based on individual circumstances, weighing most heavily the best interests of the child. A Chester NY divorce attorney can explain your rights and fight for the most favorable outcome.

Contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Chester, New York for a free initial consultation

Meth Law Offices, PC represents clients in same-sex divorce proceedings in Chester and throughout Orange County. Please call 845-610-6595 or contact me online for a free initial consultation.