Divorce is often an emotionally and legally complex process. For LGBTQ+ couples, it can feel especially overwhelming to navigate the family courts and feel confident that your rights are being respected. While same-sex couples in Kansas have many of the same rights as heterosexual couples during divorce proceedings, navigating the legal system and ensuring you get your fair share can be challenging.
A Lincoln County LGBTQ divorce lawyer could assist you by handling the required paperwork, compiling necessary evidence, and representing your interests in court. For queer couples, it helps to know that you have the support of someone who respects and values you as a person and the delicate situation you face. Call one of our experienced divorce attorneys for help in protecting your rights, assets, and child custody.
Divorce Laws for LGBTQ+ Couples
Because LGBTQ+ marriages are now legally recognized, the state provides same-sex couples with a number of rights and protections during divorce proceedings.
For example, Kansas Statutes Annotated § 23-2601 provides each person with the right to retain property they owned prior to the marriage, as well as property obtained during the marriage via a personal gift or inheritance. K.S.A. § 23-2902 states that either spouse, regardless of gender, may be entitled to spousal maintenance (also known as alimony). Spousal support determinations are made based on what is fair to both parties to help each have financial stability and independence in the immediate aftermath of the divorce.
Per K.S.A. § 23-2712, couples can also create their own separation plans that the judge will simply validate, provided that they are fair to both parties. A LGBTQ divorce attorney in Lincoln County could draft equitable separation plans and preserve their client’s rights or represent their client’s interests during a divorce hearing if the couple cannot agree on the terms of their divorce.
LGBTQ+ Parents’ Rights in a Divorce
Parenting rights can be complicated during any divorce proceeding, but often create unique challenges for queer couples. The criteria for recognizing parentage for same-sex couples vary from state to state, forcing some parents to jump through extra hoops that cishet couples do not need.
Recognizing Same-Sex Parents
Fortunately, LGBTQ+ parents have stronger protections than other states provide. The court case Frazier v. Goudschaal validated a lesbian mother’s parental rights for custody and visitation, even though she was not the biological mother and had not formally adopted the children that she had with her ex-partner.
Under K.S.A. § 23-2208, there is a rebuttable presumption of parentage between same-sex couples when the non-biological parent has acknowledged and participated in a parental role. This means the family court judge should assume the non-biological parent is indeed a parent with all the same rights and resources as cishet parents, unless clear and convincing evidence proves they have not had a parenting role for the child.
The language of laws like K.S.A. § 23-2302, which recognizes children conceived via assisted reproduction methods are to be viewed the same as naturally conceived children, contain heteronormative terms like husband and wife. However, Frazier requires the courts to apply these same principles to married parents of any gender.
Child Custody Standards
Ultimately, child custody and child support determinations for any divorcing parent are governed by the principles in K.S.A. § 23-3201, as these decisions are to be based on the child’s best interest. There are many different factors the judge will consider when determining the arrangements that are in the best interest of the child. Under K.S.A. § 23-3203, these factors include:
- The child’s physical and emotional needs
- Each parents’ proximity to the child’s school and other necessary services
- The parents’ ability to work together and communicate for the sake of the child’s well-being
- Consideration of how much time and involvement each parent invested in the children before and after they have separated
A Lincoln County LGBTQ divorce attorney could help demonstrate the ways in which a parent meets the criteria for a favorable child custody ruling.
Call a Lincoln County LGBTQ+ Divorce Attorney for Help
Going through the emotional process of a divorce can be hard on your own. A Lincoln County LGBTQ divorce lawyer could build and present your case in court to protect your rights and help you get the outcomes you deserve. Call a knowledgeable attorney today to get started on your case.