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Same-sex couples and family law issues

Information collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and shared by CNN.com shows that as of 2010, there were over 646,000 same-sex households (included both married and unmarried couples) in the United States. A recent Gallup poll shows that 55 percent of Americans now favor allowing same-sex domestic partners to marry. Currently, same-sex marriages are allowed in 19 states. As of last month’s ruling in federal court, North Carolina has now joined the ranks of states that recognize same sex marriages.

Yet along with this new opportunity to marry, some same-sex couples in Charlotte and throughout the rest of the country are finding that they also now have to deal with the potential prospect of divorce issues. Just like with traditional couples, same-sex couples looking to divorce will have to deal with issues such as spousal support, division of assets, and child custody agreements. Those who’ve already sought divorce are finding a number of pitfalls that are unique to these proceedings, such as: 

  • Property division: As many same-sex couples have cohabitated for many years without being married, determining which assets qualify for as marital property has been a struggle in many cases.  
  • Child custody: Those couples who have chosen to have children through artificial insemination are now encountering issues regarding the non-biological parent’s parental rights not being recognized in some cases.    
  • Lack of legal expertise: As same-sex marriages are so new in many states, many couples looking for divorces are finding it difficult to find legal counsel with experience in handling these types of cases.

Even though there may still be issues to be ironed out regarding same-sex marriage in North Carolina, those couples needing advice on the dissolution of their marriages may still find local divorce lawyers to be a good source for information. 

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