Progress: Same-Sex Divorce Is Just as Messy as Heterosexual Divorces

When gay marriage became the law of the land in 2015, there was some concern among opponents about how it would influence the marriage process overall. The good news for all parties is that same-sex marriage has been going strong for three years now, and it looks like it’s going to be exactly the same as heterosexual marriage: which means it’s frequent, messy, and often leads to difficult divorces.

Same-sex divorce is, as you might assume, an increasingly common event across the country now. It’s lead to many lawyers focusing specifically on those divorces. Take, for instance, the Law Offices of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., which devote significant time and energy to the process and the needs of same-sex marriages that are approaching divorce.

In general, though, the concerns for those involved in a same-sex divorce are the same as those for heterosexual divorces. Namely, people are worried about how their stuff will be divided up, who will get the kids, and if either party needs to provide support to the other.

Scratch under the surface, and you’ll find that any marriage that breaks up really comes down to the same issues. In the same way, divorces of all sorts come down to who gets the house, who needs alimony or child support, and how the kids are going to spend their time between two households.

That doesn’t mean gay marriages have it exactly the same as heterosexual marriages. After all, children in same-sex marriages can only have one biological parent within that marriage, by definition, which makes custody a bit sloppier than it would be otherwise. Still, in general, the issues are overall the same.

In some ways, despite how upsetting divorce can be when witnessed up-close, there’s a lot to feel positive about with this information. After all, same-sex marriage has so quickly become so normalized that it is becoming just like any other kind of marriage in America. It’s prone to being entered into by people who haven’t put enough thought into it. It has the same kind of people who often have trouble getting along because of kids, expenses, and long-term disagreements. And it has the same kind of people who often break up and fight about the same issues. In other words, after just three years, it’s not really about same-sex marriage at all. It’s about marriage, period.

I think it’s fair to call that progress. As we normalize same-sex relationships in the culture, there is bound to be some merging of that distinct identity into the traditional paths families take in America, and that is a good thing.

Now, as for divorce in general, that’s a much more complex question, and I don’t know if we ought to do more to try to heal same-sex marriages, or heterosexual marriages, or both. Perhaps it’s best to let people go their own way, or perhaps not.

Regardless, this is increasingly becoming a question that can be debated as a general topic, not one that needs to divide everyone into groups.

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Standards Observed by Austin Courts when Determining Child Conservatorship

In determining the issue of child custody during a divorce case state courts have the same primary consideration: the best interest of the child. In Title 5 Sec. 153.002 of the Texas Family Code, this same consideration is stipulated: “The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.”

A child’s best interest, according to the court, however, does not mean what the child wants, it is rather what the court deems is best for him/her.

When determining conservatorship or custodianship (of a child), the overarching standards of Austin courts include: (i) assurance that the child will have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child; (ii) provision of a safe, stable, and non-violent environment for the child; and, (iii) encouragement of parents to share in the rights and duties of raising their child (even after the parents have separated or have had their marriage dissolved).

Due to the fact that the issue of conservatorship, when settled in court, can be emotionally draining, besides being contentious (between the spouses) and legally complex, courts, therefore, encourage divorcing spouses to find ways that will allow them to work together in order for them to arrive at an amicable agreement regarding child custody. Failure to come to agreeable terms will result to their divorce case needing to be filed in court. If this happens, settling the conservatorship issue will be left to the family court judge whose decision on who will be the child’s custodian, will be legal and binding whether this decision is acceptable to all concerned (the spouses and the child himself/herself).

While a child, upon reaching the age of 12, can sign a “Choice of Managing Conservator” document to petition the courts to make or alter its original decision regarding conservatorship, this does not mean that the courts will grant his/her preferred living arrangements as this may be contrary to what the courts see to be in his/her best interest.

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