The end of a marriage is life-changing for all types of families. For LGBTQ couples who live in Oregon, divorcing involves special considerations that may not apply to heterosexual marriage.
Think about these important factors when facing divorce as an LGBTQ individual.
Child custody and support
Oregon allows both parents in an LGBTQ family to obtain parental rights through second-parent adoption. With this process, the child’s nonbiological parent must seek a legal Judgment of Adoption. When a couple adopts a child together, they both become legal parents who have parental rights.
When one parent has not established legal parental rights, he or she may be unable to share custody in an LGBTQ divorce. In this case, the parent who has rights cannot seek child support from the other parent.
Oregon began recognizing same-sex marriages under federal law in 2014. Many LGBTQ relationships predate legal marriage in the state by decades, which may create confusion about property division when these couples decide to divorce.
Because Oregon is an equitable distribution state, divorcing couples must split marital property fairly. The state encourages couples to create a marital settlement agreement and submit it to the court for approval. Otherwise, the judge will make a decision and some individuals may unexpectedly learn that their spouse has a legal claim to real estate, retirement funds, business interests and other assets that predate the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can also help LGBTQ couples avoid this issue in a divorce.
Outside of these special considerations, the process for ending a marriage in Oregon is the same for straight and LGBTQ families.