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Same-Sex Divorce

Michigan Same-Sex Divorce Attorney Protects Clients’ Rights

Sterling Heights family lawyer experienced in LGBT couple dissolutions

In Michigan, the legality of same-sex marriage has had a tumultuous history. It was banned by voters in 2004, the ban was ruled unconstitutional in 2014 and that decision was reversed on appeal. Same-sex marriage finally became legally recognized throughout the U.S. in 2015. At Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights, I am proud to serve LGBTQ residents of Michigan in family law matters. I understand that, just as with male-female marriages, same-sex marriages don’t always last. If you are contemplating a divorce, you can find the thoughtful guidance and vigorous legal representation you need at my firm. I listen carefully to your concerns and priorities, explain in clear terms how the law applies and guide you through the entire legal process.

Committed legal guidance regarding divorce

In Michigan, divorce laws are applied equally to same-sex and male-female divorce proceedings. We are a no-fault divorce state, which means marital misconduct, such as adultery, is not considered by the courts. The only grounds that need to be alleged are that the marriage has broken down and there is no reasonable expectation of reviving it.

You can file a petition for divorce even if your spouse objects. Only one spouse must desire the divorce in order for it to proceed. However, residency requirements need to be met. At least one spouse must have lived in Michigan for at least 180 days and at least one spouse must have been a resident of their county for 10 days or more. This means that if you just moved to any county five days ago, you’ll need to wait five more days before filing your divorce petition.

Compassionate lawyer protects parental rights during same-sex divorce

Parental concerns are sensitive areas for any divorcing couple with children. I will work diligently to protect your right to continue to be a part of your child’s upbringing. Under Michigan’s Equitable Parent Doctrine, divorcing same-sex parents have an equal right to petition for custody and visitation, regardless of their biological connection to the child. However, there are certain intricacies that may affect child custody in same-sex divorce, notably in cases of:

  • Sperm donors — If the child was born during the marriage, both spouses are legal parents.
  • Adoptions — If the child was adopted during the marriage, both spouses are legal parents.
  • Surrogates — The non-biological parent(s) must have completed an adoption to secure full legal parenting rights.

Additionally, I represent both receiving and paying spouses in child support matters and represent spouses seeking child support modification.

Proven advocate assists clients with spousal support

I advocate on behalf of clients who need to request spousal support as well as those who are defending themselves from a request to pay spousal support. There are four types of spousal support under Michigan law:

  • Temporary — Paid while the divorce is pending
  • Periodic/non-modifiable —Paid in installments over a specific time period
  • Permanent/modifiable — Paid indefinitely
  • Lump sum — One payment made to cover the entirety of the support

Whether you are a paying or recipient spouse, you can expect experienced legal guidance and vigorous representation.

Established law firm manages property distribution

In Michigan, marital property is distributed equitably, which means it is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. The same is true of marital debt. I will answer all of your questions regarding the division of assets and liabilities. My firm also offers mediation services, which may enable you and your spouse to reach a property settlement agreement. As mediator, I will draft a comprehensive agreement for court approval and inclusion in the final divorce judgment.

Contact an accomplished family law attorney in Michigan

Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights represents Michigan residents in same-sex divorces and other family law cases. You can request a free consultation at my office by calling 833-671-4445 or contacting me online.

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Office Location
  • Sterling Heights Office
    43805 Van Dyke Avenue
    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314
    Phone: 586-731-7400
    Fax: 586-731-6370
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  • "Dave Dawson was very helpful and informative. He is a no nonsense kind of attorney that gets results. I would recommend to a friend."  --J.L.

  • "Mr. Dawson, Brilliant work! Yesterday I still couldn’t believe you actually brought me back to life and thinking back how you did your best – brilliant – thank you!"  --Holger K.

  • "Dear David, Thanks so much for everything! You have done so much for me these last couple of months! I am eternally grateful."  --Ryann M.

  • "David, I really appreciate being able to refer clients who can benefit from your knowledge and experience. Thank you,"  --Jon Corbin