Any divorce is stressful and emotional, even if the decision to part ways is made amicably. Imagine the issues involved when the divorce is the result of one partner coming to terms with the fact that they are gay. Coming out is a major event that encompasses its own trauma and emotional upheaval. For couples that built a life and a family together, divorcing because of one partner’s sexuality can be doubly traumatic, unless it is undertaken with honesty and respect for what both partners are going through.
Coming Out Together
Unfortunately, sometimes the partner coming out is so busy with their own emotions and experience that the straight spouse is left to cope alone. It is inevitable that there will be hurt feelings including feeling deceived and consequently angry. These need to be acknowledged as much as the feelings of the gay partner.
Other times, the straight spouse remains in denial about the true situation of their marriage. They may choose to shun their gay spouse because of the hurt and confusion they are experiencing and it may take a long time for them to be able to let go of the initial hurt to find understanding and forgiveness. This may be especially true if the partners are older or very religious.
Coming out in a mixed orientation marriage is a family matter that should include both spouses. Professional counseling is invaluable to couples divorcing in a situation like this. Open honesty when divorcing a gay spouse may seem next to impossible, but in the long run, everyone benefits from an honest approach.
What About the Children?
Again, being upfront and honest is the best policy. For children, the biggest upheaval will be the divorce itself, not necessarily the reason why. When a gay or lesbian spouse comes out, there are stages within the family of dealing with the news. The spouse coming out is first of course, the straight spouse then must deal with this information, and then the children. Depending on the age of the child, the explanation may be limited to a discussion of different types of love and families; some families have two moms or two dads, and some children have foster parents or are raised by their grandparents. With older children, especially adolescents, things may be more difficult because they are going through changes involving their own sexuality.
It is important to be honest with children, answer their questions, and if possible, present the information together as a united front. Model the respectful behavior you would like them to have and refrain from expressing open hostility towards your ex-spouse. Most importantly, the children should know that they will always be loved by both parents. They should be given the chance to continue their own relationship with each parent and express their love for that person, regardless of how the parents are currently feeling toward each other.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Provide Counsel in Every Divorce Situation
If you have found yourself in a mixed orientation marriage and are seeking a divorce, contact the experienced Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. We will work with you to resolve your situation quickly in a compassionate and respectful manner while protecting your interests and your future. Contact us online or call 443-589-0150 for a confidential consultation. From our Hunt Valley offices, we serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Howard County, and Carroll County.