Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer that Specializes in LGBT Cases?

There are many divorce lawyers in the Los Angeles area. However, gay families preparing for divorce may wish to consider hiring one that specializes in working with the LGBT community. In this post, we’ll cover a few points that set LGBT-specific divorce lawyers apart.

A deep understanding of LGBT legal complexities

LGBT families often face multiple complexities in divorce proceedings that straight families rarely experience. For example, it is very common for LGBT parents to have a variety of legal parenting situations. Often, one or both parents are not biologically related to the child. Even if both names are on a birth certificate, legal challenges may still arise. Non-biological parents typically must complete a second-parent adoption, stepparent adoption, or another form of adoption. Other considerations that are far more common for gay families include surrogacy, sperm and egg donors. Attorneys who specialize in LGBT family law are skilled at navigating those complexities.

The nuances and legalities of divorce between those who are married, those who are domestic partners, or those who are both is another LGBT-specific arena. A deep knowledge in these areas is critical to ensure that the divorce proceedings are handled without error.

Finally, it’s important that your divorce attorney is familiar with LGBT-specific language. Legal vocabulary is a language of its own. In some ways, so is language for the LGBT community. This can include gender pronouns [he/his; she/her; they/theirs], vocabulary for partnerships and other relationships, and more. An attorney must use precise vocabulary in order to correctly identify you and your partner, and process the LGBT divorce appropriately.

Protection from discrimination

While California is a relatively liberal state, particularly in metropolitan areas including San Francisco and Los Angeles, LGBT discrimination in our culture, as well as our court system has not yet been eradicated. For example, here in Los Angeles, a recent lawsuit was brought against the California State Patrol for LGBT discrimination. This is just one small example of pervasive discrimination that continues to affect every aspect of life, including divorce proceeding. A skilled and knowledgeable LGBT divorce attorney will be familiar with instances where discrimination may appear, and be able to prevent and buffer the effects.

Empathy and shared values

An attorney who specializes in LGBT family law will be familiar with the ongoing struggles our community has undergone in order to obtain legal rights and protections. They’ll know the story of the journey to gay marriage, and how it’s affected the LGBT community both here in California, and nationwide. They’ll empathize with the joy that rights new to the LGBT community bring– such as seeing both parents names on a birth certificate, and adopting a child. When planning for something as life-changing as a divorce, this perspective is important.

At the Gay Family Law Center, we treat all our clients, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, with the utmost respect. You can rest assured that you’ll be working with a friend and an ally. We’re proud to be part of the LGBT community, and share that pride with you. If you’d like to chat about whether one of our staff is the right LGBT divorce attorney for you, call us for a free consultation.

Image by Cecilie Johnsen