In 2014, Arizona decided against appealing a federal court’s decision that the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The decision not to appeal made same-sex marriage in the state legal.
The Supreme Court of the United States subsequently legalized same-sex marriage in all states with its decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges, 132 S. Ct. 2071 (2015) case.
Same-sex couples can decide to marry or to form domestic partnerships in Arizona. The state’s family law regarding same-sex marriage is evolving.
Stephanie Villalobos, LP of De Novo Law, can represent you in multiple same-sex family law matters, including divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance, child support, and property division.
When you choose to retain a licensed legal paraprofessional at De Novo Law, you can pursue a resolution to your family law issues at a more affordable cost.
How a Legal Paraprofessional can Assist with Same-Sex Family Law Matters
The Arizona Supreme Court created a new tier of licensed legal professionals called legal paraprofessionals. Before someone can be licensed as a legal paraprofessional, he or she must have built significant experience while working under the supervision of licensed attorneys and/or attained some legal education.
Legal paraprofessionals must also pass rigorous background checks and comprehensive exams before they can be licensed.
Once licensed, legal paraprofessionals are authorized to provide legal representation to their clients without the supervision of attorneys in certain limited areas, including family law. Ms. Villalobos is licensed to provide legal advice, help devise legal strategies, file legal pleadings, appear in court, and do other related things to help her clients secure the most favorable outcomes possible in their cases.
Being represented by a legal paraprofessional is generally more affordable than hiring an attorney.
Ms. Villalobos has more than 30 years of experience working in family law. She is authorized to represent people in many different types of same-sex family law issues, including divorce, property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.
Same-Sex Marriage in Arizona
In 2014, a federal court found that Arizona’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The state then decided against appealing the federal court’s decision, so same-sex marriage became legal in the state. In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Obergefell, which legalized same-sex marriage in every state.
Couples can also choose to register domestic partnerships in Tucson or Phoenix without getting married. In Phoenix, couples who want to register domestic partnerships must be 18 or older, live together in the city in a committed relationship, not be married or in a domestic partnership or civil union with someone else, and not be related to a prohibited degree.
Similarly, couples in Tucson can register civil unions as long as they are at least 18 years old, live together in a supportive relationship in Tucson, are not married to or in a domestic partnership or civil union with someone else, are competent, and are not related to a prohibited degree.
Eligible same-sex couples who work for employers that are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act also have the right to take FMLA leave from work to care for their spouses’ serious medical conditions. They are also entitled to be covered under their spouses’ employer-provided healthcare coverage and other benefits.
Same-Sex Divorce and Property Division
If you are in a same-sex marriage and want to end your marriage, you can pursue a same-sex divorce. While the process is the same as it is for heterosexual couples, same-sex couples frequently have to deal with issues other married couples might not have to contend with.
For example, since same-sex marriage is relatively new, many couples lived together for years before they were allowed to marry and accumulated substantial assets. This can present an issue when determining how to divide the property you and your spouse accumulated during your relationship but before you married.
Arizona considers assets the spouses accumulated before they married as separate property, which can make property division much more complex. Stephanie Villalobos, LP, can help to negotiate with your spouse to try to secure a settlement agreement that will protect your interests.
If you are preparing to marry, she might also help you to draft a prenuptial agreement that can address how to divide your property if your marriage ends in a divorce.
If you and your spouse got married in another state, you could still pursue a divorce in Arizona as long as you or your spouse has resided in Arizona for 90 days or longer. De Novo Law is experienced in handling same-sex divorce issues and can help you to understand your rights. In most cases, negotiating a full settlement agreement will provide the best outcome.
If you and your spouse cannot reach a full agreement, the court will decide the outstanding issues for you. If you cannot reach an agreement, Stephanie Villalobos, LP, is prepared to litigate the issues for you in court.
Same-Sex Child Custody and Parenting Time
Unmarried fathers in heterosexual relationships can establish their paternity to secure parental rights with their children. Once a father’s paternity is established, he can then petition the court to establish legal decision-making authority and parenting time.
Same-sex couples face issues with pursuing child custody and visitation because only one parent will be biologically related to the child unless the other parent has adopted the child.
If you are married and going through a same-sex divorce with a child, you might have an easier time establishing your parental rights than if you and your ex were unmarried. If you and your estranged spouse agreed for the child to be conceived while you were married, there will be a presumption that both of you should have rights for parenting time and legal decision-making authority determinations.
The primary consideration will be what is in your child’s best interests. At De Novo Law, Stephanie Villalobos can help you understand the factors courts consider when determining what is in the best interests of a child and help you determine the appropriate legal strategy to take to seek a favorable resolution of your same-sex child custody matter.
Same-Sex Child and Spousal Support
If you and your estranged spouse agreed for a child to be conceived during your marriage or adopted a child together, child support will also likely be an issue. Courts expect all parents to contribute to their children’s upbringing and issue child support orders to ensure that children will enjoy a similar standard of living to what they enjoyed while their parents were together.
Stephanie Villalobos, LP, can help you to calculate the amount of child support you might expect to pay or receive. She can also help with child support modifications and other related issues.
In a same-sex divorce, either spouse can ask the court to order spousal maintenance. This might present special issues in a same-sex divorce when a couple lived together for years before they married, and the higher-earning spouse provided support during that entire period.
Arizona’s spousal maintenance laws only consider how long the marriage lasted rather than how long a couple has lived together. Addressing spousal maintenance during divorce negotiations might help you to secure a fair resolution.
Speak to De Novo Law Today about any Same-Sex Family Law Matter
Stephanie Villalobos, LP, has years of experience helping same-sex couples with family law issues. If you are dealing with same-sex family law issues, contact De Novo Law today to request a consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held. The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.
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