Lesbian Divorce Rate in New York (2024)

Same-sex marriages have been legal in New York since 2011. That also means that, like any other marriage, there is a possibility that couples in same-sex marriages could choose to divorce. For many same-sex couples, the divorce rate is less than that of heterosexual couples at just 16%, as compared to 19%. However, that low number is reflective of gay marriages. Unfortunately, lesbian marriages have a higher likelihood of ending in divorce, with 34% of these marriages ending.

Before you decide not to enter into a marriage because there is a higher likelihood of it ending, there are considerations to take in before making the decision.

Marriage in the LGBTQ Community

There are many reasons why couples of any type enter into a marriage. There is a foundation of love, there is a desire to share a life together, and there is also the idea of tradition. Marriage has been around for thousands of years and has seen its purpose change. In the LGBTQ community, the idea of marriage is a key topic of conversation.

Marrying another person comes with many benefits of the union, including shared benefits, shared name, and the prospect of continuing a family as a united couple. For some in the LGBTQ community, they are excited to enter into marriage and follow the traditional route of an engagement, planning a wedding, holding a celebration, and much more. However, for others in the community, the idea of marriage is a sign of archaic foundations that only seek to help others gain control, property, or power.

When a couple marries, unless they institute a prenuptial agreement, life becomes about what they share and about who is entitled to what. That is why some couples in the LGBTQ community choose not to marry and instead live in a partnership that focuses on love instead of legal recognition.

LGBTQ Divorce

For those lesbian couples who choose to marry, they are subject to the same laws as heterosexual couples. They are also entitled to the same rights and privileges. With those rights and privileges are the expectations that, as a married couple, they adhere to the same laws and grounds for divorce that are allowed for specific reasons. These include:

  • One spouse is cruel or endangers their spouse.
  • One spouse abandons the other for a year or more.
  • One spouse is confined to prison for at least three years, beginning after the marriage.
  • One spouse commits adultery.
  • The couple has lived apart for more than a year after a formal separation decree.
  • There are irreconcilable differences within the marriage for more than 6 months.

The legal system is nondiscriminatory and, therefore, any lesbian couple who wishes to seek a divorce for any of the above reasons must also follow the same due process as heterosexual couples in working toward reaching a divorce settlement.  Decisions must be made on several factors, including child support, child custody, property division, and spousal support. Regardless of who is married, a legal marriage is required to follow the same legal divorce guidelines.

Lesbian couples who choose to divorce, like other divorcing couples of any relationship style, are encouraged to work with one another in reaching agreements on these aspects. That way, they can avoid frustrating and difficult arguments that could create more tension than solutions.

Child Custody

For some same-sex couples, child custody can seem daunting since the formation of the family may look different than in other marriages. However, under the law, whether the child was born through in-vitro fertilization or through adoption, once the couple is established as the legal guardians of the child, they have a right to seek joint or sole child custody and, consequently, receive or be required to pay child support to the other parent.

If one parent had a child from a previous relationship, then the same-sex spouse is not allowed to seek custody unless they formally filed to become a legal guardian.

FAQs About New York Lesbian Divorce

What Is the Marriage Equality Act in New York?

The Marriage Equality Act is a law that grants same-sex couples the right to marry and have their marriage recognized, just like any other. Under this law, same-sex couples are granted all the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. Through this act, same-sex couples can seek a marriage license and are entitled to marriage ceremonies.

Why Do Ex-Wives Get Alimony?

Spousal maintenance is a part of a final divorce decree that may be granted, regardless of the gender of either spouse. Spousal maintenance is awarded based on the circumstances of the marriage, such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of both spouses and the income of both spouses, in addition to other considerations unique to the divorce.

Is Divorce the Same for Same-Sex Couples?

New York law is nondiscriminatory and, therefore, the rights and privileges awarded to the legal marriage of a same-sex couple also mean that they are required to follow the same laws of a divorce. In a same-sex divorce, spouses must settle terms of property division, child custody, spousal support, and more.

How Quickly Can You Get a Divorce in New York?

The circumstances of each divorce in New York are different and could cause different timelines for different couples. However, the cooperation of the couple could also impact the amount of time that the divorce takes. If a divorce is uncontested, some divorces could be resolved within six weeks. If, however, the courts are busy or the couple is unable to reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce, it could take months or years.

New York Family Law Attorney

No matter what type of relationship you are in, the law protects everyone and doesn’t discriminate because of whom a person chooses to spend their life with. If you have questions about how the law or your impending divorce is impacted by your relationship, contact Trotto Law Firm, P.C., and let our team help answer your questions. You deserve to have someone on your side who can look out for your rights.

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