Celebrating Pride Month: A Guide to Same-Sex Divorce in Colorado

June 21, 2024

In Colorado, June signifies not just the beauty of summer but also the ongoing celebration of Pride Month. At Johnson Law Group, a leading family law firm in Colorado, we recognize the importance of equality and respect for all families, including same-sex couples. We want to provide clear information about same-sex divorce for Colorado residents this Pride Month.

Since 2014, Colorado has embraced the right to same-sex marriage, granting LGBTQ+ couples the legal framework to build loving and committed families. However, the journey of love can sometimes lead to the dissolution of a marriage. In this blog, we'll explore the legal landscape surrounding same-sex divorce in Colorado, dispel myths about specific laws, and discuss challenges faced throughout the process.

Same-Sex Divorce: Equal Rights, Same Process rainbow blanket with wedding rings on it representing same-sex divorce.

One of the most important things to understand is that Colorado treats same-sex divorce no differently from opposite-sex divorce. There are no separate legal codes for same-sex couples. This means both parties have the same rights and protections throughout the divorce process.

Here's a breakdown of key divorce aspects that apply equally to all couples in Colorado:

  • No-Fault Divorce: Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. You don't need to prove fault or wrongdoing by your spouse to file for divorce. Citing "irreconcilable differences" is sufficient.
  • Residency Requirement: One spouse must reside in Colorado for at least 91 days before filing for divorce.
  • Division of Property: Colorado adheres to equitable distribution. Marital property (assets and debts obtained during the marriage) will be divided fairly, considering factors like the length of the marriage, both spouse's financial situation, and their contributions to the marriage.
  • Spousal Maintenance (Alimony): A court may award spousal maintenance to ensure financial stability after divorce. The length of the marriage, income disparity, and ability of each spouse to become self-supporting are considered.
  • Child Custody and Support: The court will determine custody and support arrangements for couples with children based on the child's best interests. Both parents have legal rights regarding custody and visitation, regardless of biological or adoptive status. Child support is decided based on each parent's gross monthly income and the number of overnights each spends with the child.

While the legal process is the same, there are some unique considerations for same-sex couples navigating a divorce.

Complexities in Parentage

For same-sex couples in Colorado going through divorce with children, parentage can be a complex battleground. Unlike opposite-sex couples, where biology often influences parental rights, same-sex couples may have built their families through adoption, surrogacy, or sperm donation. These methods introduce a layer of legal intricacies that can impact child custody arrangements.

Here's why parentage matters:

  • Establishing Legal Rights: Not all family-building methods automatically grant parental rights to both partners. Clear legal documentation like adoption decrees, gestational carrier agreements, or paternity orders are essential in Colorado. Without them, one partner might face an uphill battle establishing their parental rights, potentially jeopardizing their future involvement with the child.
  • Custody Disputes: Ambiguity surrounding parentage can fuel disputes over child custody during divorce. A legally established parental relationship strengthens the non-biological parent's claim to custody and visitation rights.
  • Financial Implications: Child support is often determined by both parents' income. Established parentage ensures both partners fulfill their financial obligations towards the child, creating a clear and fair framework for supporting their needs.

By proactively addressing parentage through legal documentation, same-sex couples can navigate divorce with greater clarity and protect the well-being of their children.

The Emotional Landscape of Same-Sex Divorce

Divorce is an emotionally charged experience for any couple. However, same-sex couples may face additional emotional challenges as they navigate the dissolution of their marriage. Here's a deeper look at the emotional impact of same-sex divorce:

  • Grief and Loss: Same-sex couples often fought hard for the right to marry and build a family. Divorce can feel like a double loss – the end of a cherished relationship and the loss of the hard-won right to be a recognized family unit. This grief can be compounded by societal messages that view same-sex relationships as less stable, adding a layer of self-doubt.
  • Isolation and Stigma: Despite strides towards equality, some members of the LGBTQ+ community might feel isolated during divorce. Social circles built around the couple may fracture, and fear of judgment from friends, family, or even the LGBTQ+ community itself can lead to a sense of loneliness.
  • Identity Struggles: Divorce can challenge personal and sexual identity, especially for those who have tied their sense of self closely to their relationship. Re-establishing a sense of individuality separate from the partnership can be a challenging but crucial step in the healing process.

By recognizing the additional emotional challenges, same-sex couples can better prepare for the journey ahead.

Finding Support and Healing

Despite the challenges, there is hope and support available. Here are some resources that can help same-sex couples navigate the emotional rollercoaster of divorce:

  • LGBTQ+ affirming therapists: Therapists with experience in LGBTQ+ issues can provide a safe space to process emotions and rebuild self-esteem.
  • Support groups: Connecting with other same-sex couples who have gone through divorce can offer invaluable emotional support and practical advice.
  • Legal counsel: Consider an experienced same-sex divorce attorney like those at Johnson Law Group. We can make sure your rights are protected and guide you through the legal challenges.

Remember, divorce doesn't erase the love and commitment shared during the marriage. With time, support, and self-compassion, same-sex couples can heal from divorce and move forward to build fulfilling lives.

Working with Johnson Law Group

Same-sex divorce in Colorado presents unique challenges, but with the correct information and legal support, you can navigate this difficult time with confidence. Johnson Law Group is dedicated to providing the expertise and compassion you need to achieve a fair and just outcome. If you are facing a same-sex divorce, contact Johnson Law Group today at 720-445-4444 to schedule a FREE consultation with one of our experienced Colorado family law attorneys.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
Divorce doesn’t have to be dramatic. For the litigants, losing your spouse is significant enough. But you can choose the way it affects your daily life. The only guarantee I can give is that the feeling that you have right now will not be the feeling you end with. This is a season in your life, and it must be approached that way.
Our experience, dedication to Colorado families, and our success in each case we represent sets us apart from the competition. We are passionate about family and estate law. Our highly-qualified team will work tirelessly to achieve the best possible results in your case.


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