Same-Sex Divorce

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Rockville Divorce Lawyers Helping Clients in Same-Sex Relationships End Their Marriages

Sensitive family law counsel for members of the LGBTQ community

Since 2015, same-sex couples have had the legal right to marry and divorce in every state. While the Supreme Court decision affirming these rights was long overdue, same-sex couples still face different challenges than straight couples. For example, equitable distribution laws only divide marital property, which could mean that same-sex couples who bought homes together and contributed to bank accounts together years or decades ago may only divide the assets they acquired after the Supreme Court decision became law.

The Rockville same-sex divorce lawyers at McCabe Russell, PA are experienced at helping LGBTQ individuals through the divorce process. We understand the trauma of divorce and relationships that have ended. We are respected throughout Maryland for our strong advocacy on behalf of spouses and children. Our lawyers guide clients through the emotional changes divorce creates and the need to resolve property issues, alimony, child custody and child support. We negotiate agreements when spouses are cooperative and litigate family disputes before judges when the parties are unable to come to an agreement.

Absolute and limited divorces in for LGBTQ couples

Same-sex and straight couples both can end their marriages by obtaining an absolute divorce. All family law matters must be resolved at the time of the divorce. After an absolute divorce is approved, each spouse can remarry.

Couples may achieve an absolute divorce in Maryland in the following ways:

  • A year-long separation. If a couple has minor children, then they need to wait a year before they can seek an absolute divorce. During this year, they must live apart and must not be intimate. During the separation, they must decide who will stay in the family home or if it will be sold, where any children will stay, and how the bills will be handled.
  • Mutual consent. Spouses can obtain an absolute divorce if they do not have minor children, and they reach an agreement on both how their assets will be divided and alimony. Gay men and lesbians should consult with experienced same-sex divorce lawyers before entering into an agreement. Many people sacrifice their right to a fair distribution of their assets and alimony by rushing into a fast divorce.
  • Grounds for divorce. Maryland approves the following grounds for divorce:
    • Adultery
    • Desertion
    • Cruelty
    • Incarceration
    • Insanity

Same-sex couples can obtain a limited divorce if they separate and do not have marital relations. A limited divorce is basically a legal separation. Couples seek a limited divorce to help show they have grounds for an absolute divorce, to think through whether they should stay married, and for financial reasons. If you have children, you and your spouse must decide who keeps the marital home during the separation (or if it will be sold), who has custody, and who provides for them.

What family issues are decided along with the divorce?

Even though their right to marry nationwide is fairly new, same-sex couples have been able to marry in Maryland for several years. We use our extensive experience in heterosexual divorce cases and our long-standing experience in gay and lesbian family matters to advocate for same-sex spouses. We represent members of the LGBTQ community in the following matters:

  • How is marital property divided in a Maryland divorce? A divorcing couple is entitled to have their marital assets distributed fairly instead of based on how the property is titled. Many factors can shift the split from a 50/50 division of assets into a more generous one. These factors include the length of the marriage (fairly short based on the same-sex marriage laws, but expanding with time), the economic circumstances of each spouse, the reasons for the divorce, and other factors. Marital property includes retirement benefits, business assets, and investments, as well as the marital home, bank accounts, and personal property.
  • How is determining child custody different for same-sex couples? This family law matter is different than custody for heterosexual couples mainly because it is harder to prove maternity or paternity. In addition to biological parenthood, same-sex spouses can become parents if:
    • They are married lesbians and named on the birth certificate of a newborn
    • They adopt a child together
    • They adopt their spouse’s child
    • They are “de facto parents” – a legal term that allows same-sex spouses to become parents through certain unique circumstances

When parenthood is established, each parent can assert their right to legal and physical custody of their child. Both types of custody can be shared by both parents. Biological parents who are not spouses may also have custody rights.

  • How much child support will one parent pay to the other? Same-sex parents are obligated to pay support for their children based on Montgomery County child support guidelines.
  • How is alimony decided? People who supported their spouse during the marriage by sacrificing their ability to earn an income can be awarded rehabilitative alimony or indefinite alimony, depending on whether they can learn new job skills and other factors. Since the length of the marriage is a factor in alimony awards, same-sex spouses may not be awarded as much alimony as their straight counterparts because they could not be married, even in Maryland, until recently. Spouses can also receive alimony to help make the litigation process fairer.

Family law divorce issues can be resolved through negotiation, mediation, collaborative divorce, and a trial before a judge.

Types of Cases We Handle

Our Rockville attorneys handle a variety of cases, including:

DivorceAsset DivisionAlimonyChild Custody
Child SupportSame-Sex DivorceSame-Sex Child Custody/Support

Don’t wait to speak to an experienced Rockville same-sex divorce lawyer

The McCabe Russell, PA, attorneys understand your emotional pain and financial worries. We have a strong reputation among our peers for handling same-sex divorces for people of all income levels, including high-asset divorces. To speak with an advocate who will put your needs first, please make an appointment by calling us at 443.917.3347 or by completing our contact form.


Rockville Office

199 E Montgomery Ave
Suite 100
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Phone: (443) 812-1435

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Text Us443-917-3347