At the Judnich Law Office, we understand the needs of all families. We proudly provide a full array of family law services to all, including LGBT individuals and families. Our office is uniquely suited to meet the unique needs of LGBT individuals involved in challenging family law situations.
How does divorce work for same-sex couples?
Married same-sex couples are eligible to take full advantage of Montana’s divorce laws to protect their rights when their relationship ends. Additionally, couples who formed civil unions or domestic partnerships, or who never sought a marriage license may also be eligible to go through a divorce proceeding and to seek an equitable distribution of their assets.
If your relationship has reached an end, call our office at (406) 721-3354 to discuss how the rights and protections of a divorce proceeding may apply to you.
If my partner and I had a civil union or domestic partnership or never sought a marriage license, are we eligible to divorce?
Prior to 2014, Montana’s Constitution prohibited same-sex couples from marrying. During that time, many couples formed civil unions or domestic partnerships through local registries or in states other than Montana.
While a patchwork of family laws peppered the states concerning same-sex marriage, in 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution mandates that all states recognize same-sex marriages (Obergefell v. Hodges, 574 U.S. 1118, 135 S. Ct. 1039 (2015)).
In the end, if you and your spouse obtained a marriage license, you are eligible for the protection of Montana’s divorce laws.
Be aware: Even if you did not obtain a marriage license, you may have rights under Montana’s divorce laws.
Montana is one of a handful of states that recognize common law marriage.
In order to establish a common-law marriage, you must be able to show that:
- You and your spouse were competent to enter into a marriage
- You both assumed a marital relationship by mutual consent and agreement
- You both confirmed your marriage by cohabitation and public repute.
If you formed a common law marriage before the law recognized same-sex marriage, it may be possible to have your marriage recognized retroactively to the date when the marriage began.
Common law marriages are no less valid than marriages entered into by ceremony. Legally, in Montana, they are treated as equal to any marriage.
Compassionate and determined representation
No matter how you formed your relationship, if the time comes to end it, we can help.
You can feel comfortable and confident in contacting the Judnich Law Office where you will be treated with dignity, and where you can find solutions to your legal issues related to LGBTQ divorce in Montana by working with an experienced legal team who understands where you are coming from.
Call (406) 721-3354 today to learn more.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.