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Same-sex couples may have more complex divorces

Although same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Arkansas, there are still a considerable number of people throughout the state who are in same-sex relationships. And, just like families with opposite-sex partners, same-sex couples may have family law issues that require the support of an experienced family law attorney.

For couples that are breaking up (or divorcing if they were married in one of the 12 states that allow for same-sex marriage), there are even more complications than heterosexuals who are ending their relationships. Because Arkansas does not recognize same-sex marriage, there can be considerable trouble dividing property, seeking spousal support or finalizing child custody issues.

It is important that same-sex parents are familiar with the laws surrounding child custody in Arkansas. The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has said that it is crucial to come to an agreement on how custody will work following a separation. By working with family law attorneys, difficult decisions like who will have primary custody, how to share custody and other issues related to children can be hammered out.

If same-sex couples do have any formal agreements between each other, such as a cohabitation agreement, lawyers can rely heavily on these agreements to determine the terms of the divorce. Like a prenuptial agreement, a cohabitation agreement can help to lay out issues like spousal support, property division and many of the other facets of divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but being in a same-sex relationship in a state that doesn't recognize that relationship is even more difficult. The hurdles that same-sex couples have to clear make it even more important to have an experienced and competent family law attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Tips on Avoiding Same-Sex Divorce Complications," Alton Abramowitz, May 13, 2013

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