Finding the right family law attorney is important when getting separated or divorced. In this case, something very personal is happening. A relationship is ending and that will impact all areas of life, in addition to being stressful. As such, finding an attorney that you are comfortable working with is absolutely critical. For same-sex couples, this often means hiring an attorney who has experience working with same-sex couples in the past and understand some of the legal complications with doing so.
Pennsylvania Domestic Partnership Agreements
Same-sex marriage was outlawed in Pennsylvania until the Supreme Court decision in 2014 made it illegal to do so. Prior to that, same-sex couples that wanted to add more permanence to their relationship typically had to do so through a domestic partnership agreement. Many of these are still in place for couples who entered into those agreements long before 2014.
Couples can still enter into a domestic partnership agreement today and they allow for a contract between two parties in regards to things like assets and income distribution if their relationship were to dissolve. These agreements are a personal contract and can include things like who receives ownership of property, whether one party pays a version of alimony after separating, along with listing out what assets belong to which party prior to formalizing the domestic partnership.
Think of it as a prenuptial agreement for people who do not wish to marry. A family law attorney can help to create these agreements and also help to exercise them should the couple end their partnership.
Divorce for Same-Sex Couples
Same-sex couples that married once it became legal, and choose to end their relationship, can do so by filing for divorce the same way that a heterosexual couple would. The necessary paperwork for ending a same-sex marriage is no different, as is the process for distributing assets, determining alimony and child support.
The only difference is that sometimes conflict can arise due to a prior domestic partnership agreement being in effect. One partner may wish to abide by the former agreement while another may choose to litigate the divorce and start from scratch. In this scenario, it helps to work with an attorney who is familiar with domestic partnership agreements and traditional divorce proceedings.
Ultimately, the goal of a family law attorney is the same whether a couple is heterosexual or same-sex. It is important for an attorney to protect the rights of clients by making sure that the protections under the law are applied to that particular case. As a family law attorney, I take care to understand the circumstances involved in the relationship and dissolution of it and to their proposed ideas and solutions.
These solutions are all in keeping with state law and ensure that my clients' rights are protected immediately and in the long-term. Remember that divorce does not just impact life today. It impacts future financial circumstances and even relationships when children are involved. This makes having an attorney important for ensuring that rights are protected and that the best possible outcomes are reached.
To speak with a Pennsylvania family law attorney, call my office and schedule a consultation.
NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.