Same-Sex Divorce

With the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, marriage for same-sex couples became legal throughout the United States. That welcome development has led to many happy marriages, but just as with heterosexual couples, not every marriage endures. Unfortunately, some same-sex marriages will end in divorce.

At the Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC, we are sensitive to the particular needs of all our divorce clients, including those in same-sex marriages. We are committed to using whatever dispute resolution tools are needed to achieve a favorable outcome in our clients’ divorces.

Unique Issues in a New York Same-Sex Divorce

After Obergefell, and with the recent passage of the federal Respect for Marriage Act, same-sex couples have the same rights in marriage as opposite-sex couples. Unfortunately, the fact that that was not the case until recently creates certain issues in the divorce of a same-sex couple. Such issues include:

  • Child Custody and Support. If a same-sex couple has raised a child together, but only one parent has a legal relationship to the child, the second parent has no legal rights to custody or visitation, or any obligation to support the child. This is true even if the second parent has helped to raise the child from birth. (Second-parent adoption before or during the marriage can avoid this outcome.)
  • Property Division. New York divorce law states that property acquired during the marriage is to be equitably divided between spouses in a divorce. However, because same-sex couples were unable to marry until relatively recently, couples who have been together for decades may be subject to a marital property distribution that does not accurately reflect the length of their relationship.
  • Spousal Maintenance/Alimony. In New York State, awards of spousal maintenance upon divorce depend heavily upon the length of the marriage. As with property division, a divorcing spouse in a same sex-marriage could be severely disadvantaged because the length of the marriage does not reflect the length of the couple’s committed relationship.

Our attorneys are committed to helping our clients in a same-sex divorce achieve a result that is not only appropriate under the law, but that is just and equitable in light of all the facts.

Work with an Experienced New York Matrimonial Law Firm

Attorney Andreas Vasilatos, who founded the firm, is a seasoned litigator who has been trying family law cases for over a decade. Because most divorce and family law cases are settled before trial, many divorce attorneys have little trial experience. Given the unique legal challenges of a same-sex divorce, it is an advantage to be represented by an experienced litigator. Trial attorneys like those at the Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos understand the value of a client’s case, and will never accept a less-than-optimal settlement just to avoid trial.

If your divorce does need to be litigated, you will need a strong and creative advocate at trial. Andreas Vasilatos has a reputation for success at trial, and he has been retained by other law firms to try their cases or serve as a trial consultant.

The Law Offices of Andreas Vasilatos, PLLC has two convenient locations: in Bayside, Queens and at 7 World Trade Center in Manhattan, and serves clients in all five boroughs of New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties. We invite you to learn more about our firm and our team, and to contact us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.