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Your Divorce Rights as a Gay Married Couple


New York has become the sixth state to perform same-sex marriages. Gay divorce is not far behind.

Gay married couples are now entitled to financial benefits and have legal rights.
Couples who marry and live in New York can now file their state taxes jointly, and they can inherit their spouse’s assets, even in the absence of a will.

There are a number of federal benefits that gay married couples will not be eligible for because of the Defense of Marriage Act which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. So gay married couples will not be able to file joint federal tax returns or receive social security spousal or survivor’s benefits.

But what about divorce rights?

Now that New York legally recognizes gay marriage, same sex divorce is recognized too!
Same-sex marriages are now legally equivalent to heterosexual marriages. Same-sex couples’ right to divorce is now rooted in New York’s Domestic Relations Law and gay couples will have the same rights in divorce as a heterosexual couple.

For a gay couple divorcing, the same issues will be considered: equitable distribution; separate property; maintenance; child custody, child support and visitation.
One issue that remains unresolved by the same-sex marriage vote is child custody and visitation, where one partner is a biological parent, but the other has failed to adopt the child.

For those of you in a same-sex marriage considering a divorce, it is important to receive the full protection you are entitled to under the law. Consult with an attorney or mediator to learn what your rights are and to ensure you are legally protected when dissolving your marriage.