August 3, 2022

Do Gay Couples Have a Different Divorce Experience in Michigan?

Same-sex couples thinking about divorce may worry about a different track they may have to follow. Luckily, under the law, there is no difference in same-sex and opposite-sex divorce. However, due to the nature of the law and the relative newness of same-sex marriage, gay and heterosexual couples, in practice, may have a different experience.


For heterosexual couples, in the 21st century, the stigma of divorce is mostly gone. It is socially acceptable to divorce. Depending on the circumstances, it can be socially encouraged.

This is not necessarily the case for gay people. Internally, they may feel like divorcing their spouse is an affront to the LGBTQIA+ cause, or that it in some way disrespects the struggle for marriage equality. And, unlike their heterosexual counterparts, society is largely silent on gay divorce. There is no push to find your bliss. There are very few gay celebrity divorces, and television and movie studies do not have a catalog of gay divorce empowerment movies.

Asset division

The property and asset division process in a divorce, legally, looks the same. However, due to the recency of the federal marriage equality mandate, in practice, for a gay couple, asset division can be different. Many gay couples have been together for a long time before the legalization of their marriage. This complicates the property division process because it looks to separate the marital estate that is created after the marriage, not before.

Child custody and support

Child custody and support issues can also be difficult in same-sex divorces because the law was specifically based on biology first, and then, adoption. Depending on the nature of your parentage, you could find yourself losing custody to the biological parent, or see primary custody go to them, simply because of that biological connection.

For all these reasons, the couple needs to have these conversations now, before there is a rift or a breakup. A Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, lawyer can also help draft up pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements (among other types of agreements) that can outline how any potential split will occur. It can outline child custody arraignments, child support, spousal support, property division, etc.