Divorce in the LGBTQ Community

January 6, 2024by Adam Sacks

Divorce within the LGBTQ community encompasses unique aspects and challenges that distinguish it from heterosexual divorces. Within this community, differences in divorce trends can be observed between lesbian and gay male couples.

Studies indicate that lesbian marriages experience significantly higher divorce rates compared to gay male marriages.

One potential reason for this disparity in divorce rates may be attributed to societal and cultural factors. Historically, lesbian relationships have been subject to a higher level of scrutiny and discrimination compared to gay-male relationships.

Other relevant factors impacting LGBTQ divorces include the lack of legal protections and recognition of same-sex marriages in certain regions.

This can make the dissolution of the relationship more difficult, with limited access to spousal support, child custody rights, or property division.

Societal attitudes and prejudices may impact the emotional and psychological well-being of individuals, potentially resulting in higher divorce rates within the LGBTQ community.


Division of Marital Property

In same-sex divorces, the division of marital property follows the same principles as in heterosexual divorces. [1]

Property acquired during the marriage is considered community property and is subject to equal division between the spouses. This includes assets such as:

  • Bank accounts
  • Cars
  • Houses
  • Retirement savings

The division of marital property can be influenced by whether a state follows community property or equitable distribution principles. In community property states, like Texas, all assets and debts acquired during the marriage are divided equally between spouses.

On the other hand, equitable distribution states aim to divide marital property in a fair and just manner, taking into account factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions, and future earning potential.

Division of Marital Property


Non-Biological Parents in the LGBTQ Community and Divorce

Divorce within the LGBTQ community brings forth unique challenges and considerations for non-biological parents.

Unlike in heterosexual marriages, where legal parenthood is typically established when a child is born, LGBTQ couples may face obstacles due to their non-biological status.

Consequently, legal adoption and establishing parental rights are of utmost importance to protect non-biological parents’ relationships and responsibilities towards their children.

One significant challenge faced by non-biological parents is the lack of automatic parental rights after a divorce.

In many jurisdictions, only the biological or adoptive parent is recognized as the legal parent, leaving the non-biological parent vulnerable to losing custody or visitation rights.


To safeguard these rights, non-biological parents must undergo the legal adoption process. By formally adopting their child, non-biological parents establish themselves as legal parents, ensuring their continued involvement in their child’s life, even after a divorce.

Child custody matters in LGBTQ divorce cases are typically subject to the same factors considered in heterosexual divorces.

Courts generally prioritize the child’s best interests, considering factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the parent’s ability to provide a safe and loving environment, and the child’s overall well-being.

The process may be complicated by prejudices or biases against LGBTQ individuals, potentially impacting custody decisions.


The experienced divorce attorneys at Sacks & Sacks are committed to helping their clients achieve the best possible outcome and protecting their rights. Contact Sacks & Sacks today for a free consultation.



[1] Judge, J. P. R. (2022, October 11). Separate and Marital Property: Who Gets What in Divorce? www.nolo.com. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/separate-community-property-during-marriage-29921.html

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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