For Some Same-Sex Couples, Divorce is a Legal Nightmare
As we celebrate legalized same-sex marriage, there are still many inconsistent laws in every state that are proven to be more harmful than helpful when it comes to divorce.
With any divorce, issues with retirement savings, child support and dividing a home are all vital assets and should be addressed with ultimate care.
The article below tells us just how impossible the divorce process can be without a reliable system covering all 50 states.
Many LGBTQ couples divorcing in states that did not previously recognize same-sex marriage are stuck in a legal mess. Due to inconsistent laws and misinformation, some who separated from their partners are discovering they are still married, and others are fighting for legal rights to children, lawyers say.
It’s a situation Mississippi lesbian Chris Strickland knows all too well. The 43-year-old had no idea her marriage would end, or that the children she considers her own would be kept from her.
“Here we are in divorce court. And I’m trying to fight for my rights for the boys and get a divorce,” Strickland told NBC OUT.
“I can’t speak to my kids or hold my children,” she said. “I’m very stressed out.”
Strickland’s story is a complicated one. She met her wife Kimberly Day in 1999 — a moment, for her, that was love at first sight. Now 17 years later, the two women are caught in a bitter divorce, with two children stuck in the middle.
Two years before they married, the couple decided to adopt a child. At that time, same-sex couples couldn’t get married or adopt children in Mississippi. So Day adopted a 6-year-old boy on her own. Only she is listed as a parent on his adoption papers, though the boy, now a teenager, lived with both women until they separated. But as far as Strickland is concerned, he is her son.
“My favorite memory of [him] is getting him off the airplane … [I] handed him a baseball glove and [got] prepared for a new life with Kim [and him],” Strickland said.
But Strickland would have no legal rights to the boy even though, she said, “I was in his life from day one.”
“Me personally, that’s my child. A piece of paper doesn’t mean anything to me,” she said.