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Rech Law, P.C. Rech Law, P.C.
Charlotte 704-659-0007 Monroe 704-228-4488 Cornelius 704-228-2790

Is Equitable Distribution Different for Same-Sex Couples?


The landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Although same-sex couples in North Carolina already won the right to marry in 2014, the ruling made in Obergefell v. Hodges made it so gay couples across the country could marry anytime, anywhere. And while the right to marry is a major victory for gay rights, same-sex couples sometimes encounter various issues when they divorce. In this blog, we explain what you need to know about equitable distribution for same-sex couples.

Does Long-Term Cohabitation Matter?

When a gay couple divorces, they face the same challenges as other couples, such as sorting out their finances, rearranging their family structure, and determining child custody arrangements. We are commonly asked if the years the couple spent together under a domestic partnership (when they were unable to legally marry) are taken into consideration under the law.

In the North Carolina, courts only consider a couples’ marriage from the date they legally married to the date they filed for divorce. North Carolina isn’t a common law marriage state, which means the period of cohabitation before the same-sex couple married doesn’t have much weight in court.

Separating Marital Property

The state of North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This concept applies to same-sex marriages, which means if a gay couple gets divorced, their assets will be divided equitably. It is important to note that “equitably” does not mean the same as “equally.”

Courts consider a number of different factors to decide which spouse gets which assets, such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of each spouse
  • The health of each spouse
  • Whether each spouse has the means to support themselves
  • Whether one spouse cared for children instead of pursuing a career

Speak to a Property Division Lawyer in Charlotte

At Rech Law, P.C. we understand how stressful it is to divide your property and assets when you file for divorce. That is why we are here to handle your case and give you the compassion and legal guidance that you need to secure a fair case result and move on to the next phase of your life. If you are in a same-sex marriage and you are thinking of filing for divorce, you should get in touch with our law firm to request a consultation with an experienced family law lawyer.

Don’t hesitate, call (704) 659-0007 to schedule your appointment today.

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