Choosing a Gay Divorce Attorney in Los Angeles
March 16, 2018
Going through an LGBT divorce is an emotional and life-changing experience. Having a high-quality divorce attorney to work with can ease and expedite the process. In this post, we’ll cover a few of the things you may wish to consider when hiring a divorce attorney.
Determine necessity of an attorney
Not everyone going through a divorce needs an attorney. In some cases, for example if you’ve been married for a short period of time, do not have any children, have clear, agreed-upon delineations of assets and debts, and are willing to spend time and energy going through the divorce process yourselves, you may be able to utilize a mediator instead.
However, if you have children, jointly own assets such as real estate or investments, or do not agree on how to divide assets or debts, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. We can work with you to determine which type of legal professional may be best in your case.
Consider your interactions
It is important to note how you feel around the attorney. While they are not therapists, you should still walk away from a consultation or phone call feeling respected, as though you had your questions answered, and with a clear understanding of how the process would work with that particular attorney.
In the case of LGBT individuals and families, expertise in laws that affect our community is crucial.
As an example, consider a case of divorce involving children. Beyond the standard parenting plans that most divorced couples must create, LGBT families are more likely to have to navigate issues of legal parentage, due to a higher likelihood of adoption and surrogacy. This is amplified if one or both of you may move out of state in the future, where different laws affecting LGBT parents exist. At the Gay Family Law Center, our attorneys have the expertise needed to successfully guide you through the process.
As another example, LGBT couples are more likely to use what are called “Marvin Actions” than heterosexual couples during divorce. Marvin Actions are legal tools that help non-married couples determine their rights and responsibilities over assets and liabilities in the event that the relationship ends. While this post is about ending a marriage, it can sometimes be the case that a couple lived together for a long period of time before marrying, and joint purchases or debts during that time would fall under Marvin Actions. Since gay marriage has only been fully legal in California since 2013, LGBT couples may need to use this tool if there is not an existing agreement on dividing those premarital assets and liabilities.
Complexities can also arise in LGBT divorce cases based on where you were married, and where each of you currently live. For example, the California court system explains: “Same-sex married couples who got married in California but do not live in California and live in a state (or states) that will not dissolve a same-sex marriage, can file to end their same-sex marriage in California, regardless of these residency requirements.”
Going through a divorce can involve many big decisions. It is important that you receive counsel from an attorney that makes you feel valued and respected, and one that has a deep subject area knowledge. Our attorneys are highly trained and experienced in the many components of LGBT divorce law. This sets us apart from other firms and helps ensure that you receive the best results possible, with minimal stress. We offer free, no commitment consultations, and can be reached by calling 1-800-LAW-LGBT or visiting our West Hollywood or Palm Springs LGBT law centers.