The US Supreme Court granted same-sex couples the right to marry three years ago. Like many opposite-sex couples, divorce and its associated legal and financial issues may now be inevitable. Same-sex couples ending their marriage also face some unique issues.
The time that the marriage took place is important when a same-sex couple ultimately ends their marriage. The length of a legally-recognized matter is an important consideration when a judge rules how or if a non-earning spouse receives alimony or other support.
The length that the time the couple were together without being married may not play a part in this decision. Same-sex marriage in Louisiana has been valid only since the Supreme Court issued its decision in 2015. This time may also play a part in child custody. If the child was adopted, the non-legal parent may not have custody rights.
There are some common elements to divorces for same-sex and opposite sex couples. Judges may consider each spouse's financial contributions to the marriage and their family, and the property brought into the marriage or acquired during marriage. Estate planning may also play a role in transferring wealth. It may memorialize the couple's intent on property division if they ever end their relationship.
A partnership agreement, entered before their legally-valid marriage, may also address these issues for same-sex couples. If there is ever a divorce, courts may use this as evidence on the couple's agreement to divide property or pay support.
Same-sex couples have also used co-habitation agreements. These are similar in many ways to prenuptial agreements, except that the couple lived together instead of getting married. Like prenups, co-habitation agreements can address issues that spouses must settle or dispute in court, such as division of assets and spousal and child support.