What Unique Challenges Do LGBTQIA+ Couples Face During Divorce?

LGBTQIA+ couples who are divorcing face added challenges that are not an issue for most heterosexual couples. It is essential to ensure that your divorce attorney understands how to address these issues to protect your interests now and in the future. 

Property Division Can Be Unusually Complex 

The process of dividing up the property between two people who have lived together is never easy, but it is particularly challenging for couples in the LGBTQIA+ community. Traditionally, property that a couple acquired during their marriage is considered marital property to be divided between them on equitable principles. Property that each spouse acquired before the date of the marriage is typically treated as separate property and is not divided in divorce but goes to the spouse who earned, purchased, or otherwise obtained it before marriage. 

Because it took so long for Colorado to legalize LGBTQIA+ marriage, many couples lived together in a committed marriage-type relationship for years without a formal legal partnership. Some couples joined through a civil union. Some were married in another state but then moved to Colorado at a time before the state recognized the validity of same-sex marriages. Determining whether property these couples acquired together during this time should be divided as marital property or treated as separate property is no easy task. 

Your attorney should review your situation with you in detail and develop the best strategies to ensure that you receive a fair share of assets in your property settlement. 

Child Custody Requires Additional Clarification

Child custody is another divorce issue commonly wrought with conflict in divorce, and the added complications faced by many LGBTQIA+ couples make the issue even more complex. If one partner has a biological relationship with the children but the other does not, the non-biological parent could lose parental rights if they have not taken steps to formally adopt the child. This can apply to children born through assisted reproduction technology as well as children born through traditional means. 

If children are a part of your relationship, your divorce attorney can assist in developing arrangements to enable you to remain an active part of the child’s life. Depending on the situation, this could include parental responsibility, decision-making responsibility, or visitation rights.

Spousal Support and Child Support 

The difficulties that apply to determining the start of a marriage relationship affect not only property division but also spousal support. Courts generally consider how long a couple was married as a key factor in deciding whether alimony is appropriate, and the amount and duration of payments. 

If one spouse focused on the home while the other spouse focused on career—and that spouse is not biologically related to a child raised together—then the home-focused spouse may need to take additional steps to secure child support as well. 

Work with a Divorce Lawyer Who Understands How to Handle the Complexities of LGBTQIA+ Divorce

Divorce is never easy. When you add the legally complicating factors that often apply to LGBTQIA+ couples, you can be worried about an arduous and overwhelming process.

The dedicated team at the Jones Law Firm, PC is ready to help. We know what’s at stake, and we have the experience and drive to help you achieve your goals and move forward to a better life after your divorce. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can assist.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).