Same-Sex Divorce: Spousal Support and Property Division

Before the Supreme Court found marriage equality to be the law of the land in the United States, divorce issues for same-sex partners were varied among the states. It’s only been one year since the Obergefell and Windsor opinions, but many family law cases are coming out and same-sex divorces are finding special considerations. Among the special concerns are spousal support, the division of genetic materials and child cust

Since the second half of the 20th Century the concept of Alimony or Spousal Support has developed in different ways. Initially, spousal support was only awarded to women but the concept has evolved, as all laws should, to be gender neutral. Currently, in the State of Oregon, the standard is that the court should weigh the needs of the receiving spouse with the ability of the giving spouse.

One major factor in determining spousal support is the duration of the marriage. The duration factor is definitely a special consideration because on paper many same-sex spouses have only been married a short time but they may have spent decades together and it would be inequitable for the breadwinning spouse not to pay some sort of support.

Much like spousal support, a main factor in property division can be the duration of a marriage. Although there is currently no case law on factoring in a pre-marriage marital relationship, it would seem inequitable for the courts to deny property rights to a spouse that had fostered a relationship which allow the family to gain that property.

Although still uncommon, genetic material such as embryos are an issue that comes up in same-sex divorce. Embryos in particular are created when genetic material from both spouses are combine and frozen to be implanted in either partner or a surrogate at a later date. A very controversial and sensitive issue is what to do with this genetic material once the parties initiate a divorce.

Given the special considerations of a same-sex divorce it is wise for a person to consult with an attorney. Feel free to call Pacific Cascade Legal at (503) 227-0200 to set up a consultation with a Family Law attorney experienced in same-sex issues.