The state of Washington legalized same sex marriages before the issue was finally addressed at a federal level. Thanks to that forward-looking approach, the state received quite a few new citizens who were hoping to make their union legally binding.
Sadly, as is the case with any marriage, some of these unions won't last forever. Same sex marriages end, requiring divorce and everything that goes with it. In many respects, a divorce in a same-sex marriage is similar to a traditional divorce. Assets are still divided, and last names can be changed back to what they were before the marriage occurred.
You and your former spouse will both need legal representation to ensure a fair and reasonable divorce. You may experience arguments and disagreements about asset and debt division, child custody and even spousal or child support amounts. In cases where you can agree on issues, mediation may be an option for resolving the few points of contention.
In situations where both former spouses want custody of marital children, however, the process of divorce can quickly become more complicated for same-sex couples.
Same-sex marriages present unique challenges during divorces
In cases of adoption, which is common, both spouses generally have equal footing when it comes to arguing for custody of the children. The biggest difference may be child custody of a biological child. Same-sex marriages often present unique challenges when it comes to child custody, as it is common for only one of the marital parents to be related to the child by genetics. In gay couples, one spouse may have been a sperm donor, while lesbian couples may have selected one of the spouses to carry the marital children. The same may be true of trans or non-binary couples who are divorcing.
Unfortunately, the genetic lineage of your child can make custody and even child support issues more complicated when going through a divorce. Whether you're biologically related to the child or not has little bearing on how you love the child. It should also have little to do with whether or not your former spouse should be paying child support, if you decided as a couple to have the child. Unfortunately, the courts are still catching up with the reality of same-sex marriages and divorces, which can make it difficult to predict the outcome to this kind of custody struggle unless you have an attorney to help.
An attorney will fight for you in a same-sex divorce
You shouldn't have to worry about your basic human rights as a parent just because you followed a less-traditional route to parenthood. Working with an experienced Washington divorce and family law attorney will give you the best potential for a positive outcome to a legally complex situation. Don't risk your future happiness and relationship with your child.