Same-sex couples have had access to legal marriage in the state of Tennessee since 2015. Although the law treats gay couples equally, some aspects of divorce law could uniquely impact homosexual couples.
If you and your same-sex spouse are divorcing, you need a seasoned divorce attorney who is familiar with the special challenges queer people face when dissolving their marriages in this state. A Red Bank LGBTQ divorce lawyer could offer vital support and sound advice throughout the process.
Tennessee state law requires couples seeking a divorce to cite a reason for dissolving their marriage. The decision about what grounds to cite will have a tremendous impact on how the divorce proceedings unfold.
If a couple cites “no-fault” grounds for divorce, neither spouse must prove that the other spouse caused the marriage to break down. The court typically grants a divorce quickly, and the couple can focus on moving forward with their lives.
If the couple cites one of the 13 fault-based grounds described in Tennessee Statute §36-4-101, the party citing fault must prove the other spouse caused the divorce through reprehensible conduct. Fault-based divorces take longer, often create embarrassment and resentment, and stoke anger. A fault-based divorce is rarely the preferable option but could sometimes serve a purpose. An experienced Red Bank attorney could advise a spouse about whether there is any advantage to pursuing a fault-based LGBTQ divorce in their specific situation.
This state offers couples the opportunity for a no-fault divorce by citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for dissolving the marriage. A couple also could seek a no-fault divorce if they have no minor children and have lived apart for at least two years. However, a couple divorcing on no-fault grounds must have agreements on all relevant issues, including:
No-fault divorces save time and money and reduce drama. Another benefit that is especially critical for LGBTQ couples is that they keep control over all relevant issues in the couple’s hands. Not all jurists in the state are sympathetic to same-sex families. Although the law requires judges to apply the same standards to LGBTQ couples as to heterosexual couples, biases sometimes come through.
A skilled divorce lawyer in Red Bank could help a same-sex couple in conflict reach an agreement, allowing them to take advantage of the no-fault divorce process. Couples often benefit from mediation to resolve outstanding issues, or each spouse’s attorney could negotiate with the other on their behalf.
Same-sex couples often have children through surrogacy, artificial insemination, or adoption. Sometimes one spouse has a child from a prior relationship and the other has a stepparent relationship to the child. The state of Tennessee confers parental rights through a biological relationship or adoption. When one partner is a biological or adoptive parent to a child the couple is raising together, the other partner can secure full parental rights by adopting the child.
Sometimes adoption is not the answer. For example, a child can have only two legal parents. If both the child’s legal parents are living, the spouse of one of the legal parents cannot adopt the child. If the couple divorces, the law does not give the former stepparent any rights to visitation.
A diligent Red Bank same-sex divorce attorney could help a couple agree to a visitation arrangement that preserves both spouses’ relationships with the children. If both parents have legal parental rights, the legal professional could help them develop a parenting plan covering child custody, visitation, and support.
Divorce is challenging in the best of circumstances. If you are a gay couple, you might have real concerns about a local judge understanding your family’s needs.
A Red Bank LGBTQ divorce lawyer could provide vigorous representation to meet your goals in a divorce while striving to keep decisions in your hands. Call today to schedule a consultation.