Pennsylvania LGBT Family Law FAQs
Montgomery County LGBT Family Law Attorney Answers Your Questions
Same-sex marriage wasn't legally recognized in Pennsylvania until May 20, 2014. That's when a U.S. federal district court judge ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Now same-sex couples in Pennsylvania have the same rights and privileges as everyone else. So much has changed in recent years that many couples have questions about their legal rights and options.
Here are a few common questions and answers to help you navigate the family law system as an LGBT family.
Q: How is Child Custody Decided for LGBT Families?
A: Child custody in Pennsylvania is determined on what is best for the children. The courts tend to rule in favor of the biological parents of the child, but both parents can attempt to seek joint or full custody. If you are not the biological parent of the children, it can help your case if you legally adopted the children. It's advisable for anyone going through a custody negotiation to get a lawyer on their side that will fight for their rights and their family's best interests.
Q: What are Grounds for Divorce?
A: In a "fault divorce" where one spouse accuses the other of misconduct, the fault grounds in Pennsylvania include:
- Abandonment for at least one year
- Cruelty including domestic violence
- Imprisonment for two or more years
Q: What is No-Fault Divorce?
A: You DO NOT need grounds for divorce in Pennsylvania. The court may grant a divorce by mutual consent if 90 days have passed since the divorce has been filed, both adults consent to the divorce, and the marriage is irretrievably broken. When one spouse doesn't give consent to the divorce, the court may still grant the no-fault divorce if the spouses lived apart for two years and the non-consenting adult doesn't deny that the divorce is irretrievably broken.
Q: Can I Change the Terms of Our Custody Agreement or Child Support?
A: The court prefers not making changes to previous court decisions. But, you can change your custody arrangement or child support agreement if your situation has changed. For example, if you fear for the safety of your child, you can take action to protect your child from your ex. If your financial situation has changed drastically, you may be able to change the terms of your alimony or child support payments.
There are many other family law situations that affect same LGBT couples in the same way that they affect other couples. You may have questions about whether you can move away with your child, if you are even eligible for divorce, or if your divorce information will be made public. A Pennsylvania family law attorney can answer your questions and help protect your best interests.
Get an Experienced Attorney on Your Side
Even though LGBT couples face certain unique issues, they are no different from straight couples when it comes to divorce, alimony, property division, child custody, and child support. At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. our LGBT family law attorneys work diligently to protect your rights every step of the way.
For more information and a free consultation, call us at (610) 645-0100 or (866) 290-9292.