Many problems have been solved now that it is legal for same-sex couples to marry in every state of the country. In a recent article appearing in a national publication, a financial planner writes about how one of the key elements of the divorce process may prove problematic for same-sex couples: the division of property.

Often the length of time a couple is married has a profound impact on how certain assets may be divided. However, because of legal obstacles, many same-sex couples lived together as if they were married without actually being so.

The planner points out that when a couple is married, it is easy to establish the time frame in which they were together. However, it can be more difficult to clarify how long an unmarried couple was truly beholden to each other. This means that asset division could be very difficult to work out if a couple was together for many years but only married for a brief period prior to the divorce.

It is easy to see how disputes could arise when it comes time to divide up the various assets accrued throughout the relationship. In order to work out a fair settlement, it may require going over years of financial records to determine when funds started commingling. It must also be determined how much each party contributed financially to the household.

If you are in the process of ending a same-sex marriage and need help with property division issues, you may benefit from the advice and guidance of a family law attorney. An attorney who has experience handling legal matters involving the dissolving of same-sex marriages or other forms of partnerships such as civil unions could help you work toward reaching a fair settlement.

Source: Time, “Start Preparing for Same-Sex Divorce,” Lili A. Vasileff, Aug. 27, 2015